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Fungi have a hand in depleted uranium's environmental fate
Date:5/4/2008

tion of environmental and biological factors is involved in the process. First, the unstable uranium metal gets coated with a layer of oxides. Moisture in the environment also corrodes the depleted uranium, encouraging fungal colonization and growth. While the fungi grow, they produce acidic substances, which corrode the depleted uranium even further. Some of the substances produced include organic acids that convert the uranium into a form that the fungi can take up or that can interact with other compounds. Ultimately, he said, the interaction of soluble forms of uranium with phosphate leads to the formation of the new uranium minerals that get deposited around the fungal biomass.

We have shown for the first time that fungi can transform metallic uranium into minerals, which are capable of long-term uranium retention, the researchers concluded. This phenomenon could be relevant to the future development of various remediation and revegetation techniques for uranium-polluted soils.


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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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