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N Biotechnol. 2013 Sep 25;30(6):788-92. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 May 17.

Uranium removal from a contaminated effluent using a combined microbial and nanoparticle system.

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  • 1Fundació URV, Av. Països Catalans, 18, 43007 Tarragona, Spain.


Reduction of soluble uranium(VI) to insoluble uranium(IV) for remediating a uranium-contaminated effluent (EF-03) was examined using a biotic and abiotic integrated system. Shewanella putrefaciens was first used and reduced U(VI) in a synthetic medium but not in the EF-03 effluent sample. Subsequently the growth of autochthonous microorganisms was stimulated with lactate. When lactate was supported on active carbon 77% U(VI) was removed in 4 days. Separately, iron nanoparticles that were 50 nm in diameter reduced U(VI) by 60% in 4 hours. The efficiency of uranium(VI) removal was improved to 96% in 30 min by using a system consisting of lactate and iron nanoparticles immobilized on active carbon. Lactate also stimulated the growth of potential uranium-reducing microorganisms in the EF-03 sample. This system can be efficiently used for the bioremediation of uranium-contaminated effluents.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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