Navigation Links
Using waste to recover waste uranium

Using bacteria and inositol phosphate, a chemical analogue of a cheap waste material from plants, researchers at Birmingham University have recovered uranium from the polluted waters from uranium mines. The same technology can also be used to clean up nuclear waste. Professor Lynne Macaskie, this week (7-10 September), presented the group's work to the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Bacteria, in this case, E. coli, break down a source of inositol phosphate (also called phytic acid), a phosphate storage material in seeds, to free the phosphate molecules. The phosphate then binds to the uranium forming a uranium phosphate precipitate on the bacterial cells that can be harvested to recover the uranium.

This process was first described in 1995, but then a more expensive additive was used and that, combined with the then low price of uranium, made the process uneconomic. The discovery that inositol phosphate was potentially six times more effective as well as being a cheap waste material means that the process becomes economically viable, especially as the world price of uranium is likely to increase as countries move to expand their nuclear technologies in a bid to produce low-carbon energy.

As an example, if pure inositol phosphate, bought from a commercial supplier is used, the cost of this process is 1.72 per gram of uranium recovered. If a cheaper source of inositol phosphate is used (eg calcium phytate) the cost reduces to 0.09 for each gram of recovered uranium. At 2007 prices, uranium cost 0.211/g; it is currently 0.09/g. These prices make the process economic overall because there is also an environmental protection benefit. Use of low-grade inositol phosphate from agricultural wastes would bring the cost down still further and the economic benefit will also increase as the price of uranium is forecast to rise again.

"The UK has no natural uranium reserves, although a significant amount of uranium is produced in nuclear wastes. There is no global shortage of uranium but from the point of view of energy security the EU needs to be able to recover as much uranium as possible from mine run-offs (which in any case pollute the environment) as well as recycling as much uranium as possible from nuclear wastes," commented Professor Macaskie, "By using a cheap feedstock easily obtained from plant wastes we have shown that an economic, scalable process for uranium recovery is possible".


Contact: Dianne Stilwell
Society for General Microbiology

Related biology technology :

1. New Sigma Advanced Genetic Engineering Labs Offers Research Community Unique Rodent Models Developed Using Exclusive Gene-Editing Technology
2. The National Center for Genome Resources Studies Childhood Diseases Using febits DNA Capture Method
3. Cellular Dynamics International In-Licenses Key Patent Portfolio for Using Stem Cell-Derived Cells in Drug Testing
4. Synthetic Genomics Inc. and ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Sign Exclusive, Multi-Year Agreement to Develop Next Generation Biofuels Using Photosynthetic Algae
5. Harvest Technologies Announces Completion of Patient Enrollment in its 60 Patient Clinical Trial in India Using Autologous Adult Stem Cells to Treat Patients With Non-Reconstructable Critical Limb Ischemia
6. Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation to Protect Archived DNA Using Biomatricas Room Temperature Storage
7. First step to converting solar energy using artificial leaf
8. Providence Health & Services Increases Revenue by $35 Million Using Concuity ClearContracts
9. Doctors in New Hampshire Now Treating Cancer with Non-Invasive Image-Guided Radiosurgery Using Novalis Tx(TM) Technology
10. CEL-SCI Developing Immune-Based Treatment Against Swine and Other H1N1 Flu Viruses Using Proprietary L.E.A.P.S. Technology
11. EClips Energy Technologies, Inc. To Develop New Sterile Air Product Using PATI Technology
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/16/2016)... NEW YORK , May 16, 2016   ... authentication solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded ... provides an unprecedented level of convenience and security with ... to authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... with the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin ... (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market ... 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. Gait ... which can be used to compute factors that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):