Research Project Full Title: Microbial Reduction of Uranium and Chlorinated Solvents via Long-Range Extracellular Electron Transport
Principal Investigator(s): Charlie Werth, Albert Valocchi (UIUC), Robert Sanford (UIUC)
Researchers: Kyle Michelson, Erin Berns, Artin Laleian
Sponsor(s): Department of Energy, Department of Defense
Full Abstract: Bioremediation is a promising strategy to transform hexavalent uranium (U(VI)) to insoluble and less toxic U(IV). Large reservoirs of U(VI) are often sequestered in mineral nanopores and represent a long-term source of groundwater contamination. It was previously thought that microbes have limited access to uranium trapped in these nanopores. However, recent studies suggest long range extracellular electron transport (LREET) mechanisms allow microbes to access and reduce this sequestered uranium. In this research project we are investigating the role of LREET mechanisms in microbial reduction of uranium and other metal oxides.