Association of Eu(III) and Cm(III) onto an extremely halophilic archaeon
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In addition to geological, geochemical, and geophysical aspects, also, microbial aspects have to be taken into account when considering the final storage of high-level radioactive waste in a deep geological repository. Rock salt is a potential host rock formation for such a repository. One indigenous microorganism, that is, common in rock salt, is the halophilic archaeon Halobacterium noricense DSM15987T, which was used in our study to investigate its interactions with the trivalent actinide curium and its inactive analogue europium as a function of time and concentration. Time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy was applied to characterize formed species in the micromolar europium concentration range. An extended evaluation of the data with parallel factor analysis revealed the association of Eu(III) to a phosphate compound released by the cells (F2/F1 ratio, 2.50) and a solid phosphate species (F2/F1 ratio, 1.80). The association with an aqueous phosphate species and a solid phosphate species was proven with site-selective TRLFS. Experiments with Cm(III) in the nanomolar concentration range showed a time- and pCH+-dependent species distribution. These species were characterized by red-shifted emission maxima, 600–602 nm, in comparison to the free Cm(III) aqueous ion, 593.8 nm. After 24 h, 40% of the luminescence intensity was measured on the cells corresponding to 0.18 μg Cm(III)/gDBM. Our results demonstrate that Halobacterium noricense DSM15987T interacts with Eu(III) by the formation of phosphate species, whereas for Cm(III), a complexation with carboxylic functional groups was also observed.
KeywordsHalophilic archaeon Halobacterium noricense DSM15987T Europium and curium bioassociation Luminescence spectroscopy at high salinity Eu/Cm TRLFS Final storage of high-level radioactive waste
The authors are indebted to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, for the use of 248Cm via the transplutonium element production facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; 248Cm was made available as part of collaboration between HZDR and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
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