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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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5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.286

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Volume 93, Issue 11 (Nov 2005)


Plutonium speciation affected by environmental bacteria

Mary P. Neu / Gary A. Icopini / Hakim Boukhalfa
Published Online: 2009-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/ract.2005.93.11.705


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

About the article

Received: 2005-01-03

Accepted: 2005-06-10

Published Online: 2009-09-25

Published in Print: 2005-11-01

Citation Information: Radiochimica Acta, ISSN (Online) 2193-3405, ISSN (Print) 0033-8230, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/ract.2005.93.11.705. Export Citation

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