Date of this Version
Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol. 97, No. 6, August 15, 2007; DOI: 10.1002/bit.21357
The effect of calcium on the dissolution and microbial reduction of a representative solid phase uranyl [U(VI)], sodium boltwoodite (NaUO2SiO3OH •1.5H2O), was investigated to evaluate the rate-limiting step of microbial reduction of the solid phase U(VI). Microbial reduction experiments were performed in a culture of a dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium (DMRB), Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1, in a bicarbonate medium with lactate as electron donor at pH 6.8 buffered with PIPES. Calcium increased the rate of Na-boltwoodite dissolution and U(VI) bioavailability by increasing its solubility through the formation of a ternary aqueous calcium-uranyl-carbonate species. The ternary species, however, decreased the rates of microbial reduction of aqueous U(VI). Laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (LIFS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) collectively revealed that microbial reduction of solid phase U(VI) was a sequentially coupled process of Na-boltwoodite dissolution, U(VI) aqueous speciation, and microbial reduction of dissolved U(VI) to U(IV) that accumulated on bacterial surfaces/periplasm. Under studied experimental conditions, the overall rate of microbial reduction of solid phase U(VI) was limited by U(VI) dissolution reactions in solutions without calcium and limited by microbial reduction in solutions with calcium. Generally, the overall rate of microbial reduction of solid phase U(VI) was determined by the coupling of solid phase U(VI) dissolution, U(VI) aqueous speciation, and microbial reduction of dissolved U(VI) that were all affected by calcium.