NABIR Researcher Publishes Biogeochemistry Finding in Science


Terry Beveridge (Department of Microbiology, University of Guelph; Ontario, Canada) and coworkers have published a paper in the January 4, 2002, issue of Science (295:117-119) on “intracellular iron minerals in a dissimilatory iron-reducing bacterium [DIRB].” The paper describes the controlled formation of minerals–by naturally occurring, indigenous bacteria–in subsurface soils and sediments. Beveridge, et al., study bacteria that have been strongly implicated in the immobilization of contaminating metals and radionuclides in soil environments. Contaminants precipitated by these organisms include but are not limited to uranium, technetium, and chromium. Immobilization of such contaminants via precipitation in soils reduces their concentration in groundwater and transport into surface waters. These latter contaminants are widespread throughout the DOE complex and are the target of the Biological and Environmental Research’s (BER) Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research (NABIR) program. NABIR supports several projects that examine the fundamental biology and geochemistry associated with the activity of DIRB’s at DOE sites. The published work contributes to the development of new strategies for the cleanup of hazardous and/or radioactive waste deposited in soils as a legacy of nuclear weapons production activities.