The biogeochemical fate of nickel during microbial ISA degradation; implications for nuclear waste disposal

Kuippers, Gina, Boothman, Christopher, Bagshaw, Heath ORCID: 0000-0001-7209-9132, Ward, Michael, Beard, Rebecca, Bryan, Nicholas and Lloyd, Jonathan R
(2018) The biogeochemical fate of nickel during microbial ISA degradation; implications for nuclear waste disposal. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 8 (1). 8753-.

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Intermediate level radioactive waste (ILW) generally contains a heterogeneous range of organic and inorganic materials, of which some are encapsulated in cement. Of particular concern are cellulosic waste items, which will chemically degrade under the conditions predicted during waste disposal, forming significant quantities of isosaccharinic acid (ISA), a strongly chelating ligand. ISA therefore has the potential to increase the mobility of a wide range of radionuclides via complex formation, including Ni-63 and Ni-59. Although ISA is known to be metabolized by anaerobic microorganisms, the biodegradation of metal-ISA complexes remains unexplored. This study investigates the fate of a Ni-ISA complex in Fe(III)-reducing enrichment cultures at neutral pH, representative of a microbial community in the subsurface. After initial sorption of Ni onto Fe(III)oxyhydroxides, microbial ISA biodegradation resulted in >90% removal of the remaining Ni from solution when present at 0.1 mM, whereas higher concentrations of Ni proved toxic. The microbial consortium associated with ISA degradation was dominated by close relatives to Clostridia and Geobacter species. Nickel was preferentially immobilized with trace amounts of biogenic amorphous iron sulfides. This study highlights the potential for microbial activity to help remove chelating agents and radionuclides from the groundwater in the subsurface geosphere surrounding a geodisposal facility.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Geobacter, Nickel, Ferric Compounds, Radioisotopes, Sugar Acids, Radioactive Waste, Refuse Disposal, Biodegradation, Environmental, Microbial Consortia, Clostridiaceae
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:56
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26963-8
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