American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Removal and Recovery of Uranium using Microorganisms Isolated from North American Uranium Deposits

Takehiko Tsuruta

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2007.60.66

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 3, Issue 2

Pages 60-66


Some attempts were made to remove and recover uranium that may be present in nuclear fuel effluents and mine tailings using microorganisms isolated from North American uranium deposits. To establish which microorganisms accumulate the most uranium, hundreds strains of microorganisms were screened. Of these strains of microorganisms tested, extremely high uranium accumulating ability was found in some bacteria isolated from North American uranium deposits. These bacterial strains, such as Arthrobacter and Bacillus sp., can accumulate about 2500 μmol uranium per gram dry wt. of microbial cells within one hour. These microbial cells can remove uranium from the uranium refining waste water with high efficiency. These microbial cells can also accumulate thorium as well as uranium with high efficiency. The microbial cells immobilized with polyacrylamide gel have excellent handling characteristics and can be used repeatedly in the adsorption-desorption cycles. These new microorganisms isolated from uranium deposits can be used as an adsorbing agent for the removal of the nuclear fuel elements, which may be present in nuclear fuel effluents, mine tailings and other waste sources.


© 2007 Takehiko Tsuruta. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.