NABIR Researcher Featured on Environmental News Network Website
Dr. Judy Wall, a researcher in the Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research (NABIR) Program, was featured on the Environmental News Network (ENN) website on November 26, 2001. ENN is one of the most popular websites on environmental sciences for the general public. Dr. Wall is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The article described her research on the bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans to determine its potential for bioremediation of sites contaminated by uranium. This particular bacterium is widely distributed in soils and sediments, and it obtains its energy by adding electrons onto other compounds. By adding electrons onto U(VI), a soluble and toxic form of uranium, D. desulfuricans can chemically reduce uranium to U(IV), a less soluble and less toxic form. Dr. Wall is examining the bacterial genes that are responsible for controlling the flow of electrons to U(VI). By determining the genetic pathways, she can begin to examine regulatory and environmental factors that might enhance its use in bioremediation. Dr. Wall is also collaborating with researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify and characterize the bacterial proteins that are involved in providing electrons to U(VI). The researchers hope to increase the bacterium’s affinity for uranium and thus its efficiency in bioremediation.