Journal article

The product of microbial uranium reduction includes multiple species with U(IV)-phosphate coordination

Until recently, the reduction of U(VI) to U(IV) during bioremediation was assumed to produce solely the sparingly soluble mineral uraninite, UO2(s). However, results from several laboratories reveal other species of U(IV) characterized by the absence of an EXAFS U-U pair correlation (referred to here as noncrystalline U(IV)). Because it lacks the crystalline structure of uraninite, this species is likely to be more labile and susceptible to reoxidation. In the case of single species cultures, analyses of U extended X-ray fine structure (EXAFS) spectra have previously suggested U(IV) coordination to carboxyl, phosphoryl or carbonate groups. In spite of this evidence, little is understood about the species that make up noncrystalline U(IV), their structural chemistry and the nature of the U(IV)-ligand interactions. Here, we use infrared spectroscopy (IR), uranium L-III-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), and phosphorus K-edge XAS analyses to constrain the binding environments of phosphate and uranium associated with Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 bacterial cells. Systems tested as a function of pH included: cells under metal-reducing conditions without uranium, cells under reducing conditions that produced primarily uraninite, and cells under reducing conditions that produced primarily biomass-associated noncrystalline U(IV). P X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) results provided clear and direct evidence of U(IV) coordination to phosphate. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy revealed a pronounced perturbation of phosphate functional groups in the presence of uranium. Analysis of these data provides evidence that U(IV) is coordinated to a range of phosphate species, including monomers and polymerized networks. U EXAFS analyses and a chemical extraction measurements support these conclusions. The results of this study provide new insights into the binding mechanisms of biomass-associated U(IV) species which in turn sheds light on the mechanisms of biological U(VI) reduction. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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