Uranium in Geobacter and Its Effects Essay

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Just as Geobacter species have been utilized as a means for bioremediation in Rifle Mill, Colorado, so too can they be implemented in the Navajo Nation to metabolize soluble uranium found in underground water sources. Uranium (U) is a radioactive element which in its soluble form (VI) causes a multitude of serious health conditions (Craft et al, 2004). Uranium is present in the environment as a result of leaching from natural deposits and emissions from the nuclear industry (WHO, 2003). Uranium salts present in a water supply can be an extreme detriment to public health as the majority of human consumption of soluble uranium can occur through a contaminated water source (WHO, 2003). In recent years microbes have been investigated as well…show more content…
In strains which expressed pili the uranium precipitated along the conductive pili, away from the cellular envelope. Geobacter species have been successfully implemented in bioremediation techniques in multiple locations. Rifle Mill in Colorado is a uranium mill site where uranium contamination in subterranean aquifers is prevalent. In situ stimulation in Geobacter species via acetate (1 to 3 mM) which was injected over a period of 3 months yielded promising results. Within 50 days U (VI) levels “had declined below the prescribed treatment level of 0.18 micro M in some of the monitoring wells” (Lovely et al, 2003). Acetate has been shown to stimulate growth of Geobacter species in situ (Rifle, CO). This was substantiated by the transcriptional activity of putative symporter genes (apII and apIII) at low levels of acetate. The study showed that apIII transcript activity was at its highest level when acetate was at its lowest concentrations. Although these experimental findings are not concrete evidence that acetate supports growth of Geobacter species it definitely suggests it (lovely et al, 2010). The Navajo Nation is plagued with the remnants of abandoned uranium mines. Over 500 mines exist within the Navajo nation (Navajo Uranium Report, 2013). According to the Navajo Uranium Report conducted in 2103 Of the 240 unregulated

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