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Impact of Haloarchaea on Speciation of UraniumA Multispectroscopic Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 20.08.2018, 00:00 by Miriam Bader, André Rossberg, Robin Steudtner, Björn Drobot, Kay Großmann, Matthias Schmidt, Niculina Musat, Thorsten Stumpf, Atsushi Ikeda-Ohno, Andrea Cherkouk
Haloarchaea represent a predominant part of the microbial community in rock salt, which can serve as host rock for the disposal of high level radioactive waste. However, knowledge is missing about how Haloarchaea interact with radionuclides. Here, we used a combination of spectroscopic and microscopic methods to study the interactions of an extremely halophilic archaeon with uranium, one of the major radionuclides in high level radioactive waste, on a molecular level. The obtained results show that Halobacterium noricense DSM 15987T influences uranium speciation as a function of uranium concentration and incubation time. X-ray absorption spectroscopy reveals the formation of U­(VI) phosphate minerals, such as meta-autunite, as the major species at a lower uranium concentration of 30 μM, while U­(VI) is mostly associated with carboxylate groups of the cell wall and extracellular polymeric substances at a higher uranium concentration of 85 μM. For the first time, we identified uranium biomineralization in the presence of Halobacterium noricense DSM 15987T cells. These findings highlight the potential importance of Archaea in geochemical cycling of uranium and their role in biomineralization in hypersaline environments, offering new insights into the microbe-actinide interactions in highly saline conditions relevant to the disposal of high-level radioactive waste as well as bioremediation.