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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 Jan;41(1):237-45.

Microbial Cells as Biosorbents for Heavy Metals: Accumulation of Uranium by Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Chemical Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830.


Uranium accumulated extracellularly on the surfaces of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. The rate and extent of accumulation were subject to environmental parameters, such as pH, temperature, and interference by certain anions and cations. Uranium accumulation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurred intracellularly and was extremely rapid (<10 s), and no response to environmental parameters could be detected. Metabolism was not required for metal uptake by either organism. Cell-bound uranium reached a concentration of 10 to 15% of the dry cell weight, but only 32% of the S. cerevisiae cells and 44% of the P. aeruginosa cells within a given population possessed visible uranium deposits when examined by electron microscopy. Rates of uranium uptake by S. cerevisiae were increased by chemical pretreatment of the cells. Uranium could be removed chemically from S. cerevisiae cells, and the cells could then be reused as a biosorbent.


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