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Radiochimica Acta

International Journal for chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology

Ed. by Qaim, Syed M.

12 Issues per year

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Plutonium speciation affected by environmental bacteria

Mary P. Neu / Gary A. Icopini / Hakim Boukhalfa

Citation Information: Radiochimica Acta. Volume 93, Issue 11/2005, Pages 705–714, ISSN (Print) 0033-8230, DOI: 10.1524/ract.2005.93.11.705, September 2009

Publication History

Received:
January 3, 2005
Accepted:
June 10, 2005
Published Online:
2009-09-25

Summary

Plutonium has no known biological utility, yet it has the potential to interact with bacterial cellular and extracellular structures that contain metal-binding groups, to interfere with the uptake and utilization of essential elements, and to alter cell metabolism. These interactions can transform plutonium from its most common forms, solid, mineral-adsorbed, or colloidal Pu(IV), to a variety of biogeochemical species that have much different physico-chemical properties. Organic acids that are extruded products of cell metabolism can solubilize plutonium and then enhance its environmental mobility, or in some cases facilitate plutonium transfer into cells. Phosphate- and carboxylate-rich polymers associated with cell walls can bind plutonium to form mobile biocolloids or Pu-laden biofilm/mineral solids. Bacterial membranes, proteins or redox agents can produce strongly reducing electrochemical zones and generate molecular Pu(III/IV) species or oxide particles. Alternatively, they can oxidize plutonium to form soluble Pu(V) or Pu(VI) complexes. This paper reviews research on plutonium-bacteria interactions and closely related studies on the biotransformation of uranium and other metals.

Keywords: Plutonium; Actinide; Speciation; Biogeochemistry; Bioaccumulation; Bioremediation; Metal-reducing bacteria; Siderophore; Biofilm

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