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Reduction of uranium(VI) under Sulfate-Reducing Conditions in the Presence of Fe(III)-(hydr)oxides

Author(s): Sani RK, Peyton BM, Amonette JE, Geesey GG


Hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] dissolved in a modified lactate-C medium was treated under anoxic conditions with a mixture of an Fe(III)-(hydr)oxide mineral (hematite, goethite, or ferrihydrite) and quartz. The mass of Fe(III)-(hydr)oxide mineral was varied to give equivalent Fe(III)-mineral surface areas. After equilibration, the U(VI)-mineral suspensions were inoculated with sulfate-reducing bacteria, Desulfovibrio desulfuricans G20. Inoculation of the suspensions containing sulfate-limited medium yielded significant G20 growth, along with concomitant reduction of sulfate and U(VI) from solution. With lactate-limited medium, however, some of the uranium that had been removed from solution was resolubilized in the hematite treatments and, to a lesser extent, in the goethite treatments, once the lactate was depleted.

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