The transformation of U(VI) and V(V) in carnotite group minerals during dissimilatory respiration by a metal reducing bacterium

  • chair:

    Glasauer, S. /  Fakra, S. C. / Schooling, S. / Weidler, P. / Tyliszczak, T. / Shuh, D. K. (2022)

  • place:

    Chemical Geology, 2022, 591,120726

  • Date: März 2022
  • Abstract

    Recent results from laboratory and field studies support that dissimilatory metal reducing (DMR) bacteria influence the fate and transport of uranium in anaerobic subsurface environments. To date, most research efforts have focused on the reduction of soluble U(VI) by DMR bacteria to form insoluble uraninite (UO2). Subsurface environments harbor, however, large reservoirs of U(VI) in solid or mineral form. Uranium that is structure-bound in minerals is expected to be more refractory to microbial reduction than soluble U, based on analogy with Fe respiration. The reducibility of U(VI) could impact the fate of U(IV) by controlling mineral precipitation reactions, which has implications for the long-term immobilization of U in subsurface environments. We studied anoxic cultures of Shewanella putrefaciens CN32 incubated with natural carnotite-group minerals by X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM). Near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy measurements at U-N4,5, V-L2,3, and O-K edges on cultures incubated up to 10 months show that V(V) was reduced to V(IV), whereas U was not reduced. In contrast, V(V) and U(VI) in solution were both completely reduced to lower oxidation states by CN32, as precipitates within the exopolymer surrounding the bacteria. Assays for the toxicity of U and V to CN32 showed that biofilm formation was stimulated at 0.001 M U(VI), and growth was inhibited at concentrations of U(VI) greater than 0.001 M. Vanadium did not inhibit growth or stimulate biofilm formation at any concentration tested. Investigations of the bacteria-mineral and bacteria-metal interface at the nanometer and molecular scales provide new insights into the co-respiration of V and U that help explain their biogeochemical cycling and have implications for subsurface bioremediation of these elements.