Biosorption of Uranium for Environmental Applications Using Bacteria Isolated from the Uranium Deposits

  • Takehiko TsurutaEmail author


Attempts were made to recover uranium (  U  ) occurring in nuclear fuel effluents and mine tailings using bacteria isolated from U deposits in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Japan. To establish which microorganisms accumulate the most U, hundreds of strains of microorganisms were screened. Extremely high U accumulating ability was detected in some bacteria isolated from North American U deposits. Arthrobacter and Bacillus sp. accumulated approx. 2,500 μmol U/g dry wt. of microbial cells within 1 h. Cells removed U from refining wastewater with high efficiency. Cells also accumulated thorium with high efficiency. Lactobacillus cells isolated from Japanese U deposits removed more U from seawater than the other bacteria that had superior U removal capacity from nonsaline U solutions. Cells immobilized with polyacrylamide gel had excellent handling characteristics and can be used repeatedly in U adsorption–desorption cycles. These bacteria from U deposits can be used as an adsorbing agent for the removal of the nuclear fuel elements, which may be present in nuclear effluents, mine tailings, seawater, and other waste sources.


Uranium accumulation Microorganisms Arthrobacter Lactobacillus Bacillus Immobilized microorganisms Thorium 



I thank professor Tsuyoshi Hirajima, Keiko Sasaki, and Mr. Yuki Aiba of the Department of Earth Resources Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University, for their measurement of Zeta potentials.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology and Environmental EngineeringHachinohe Institute of TechnologyHachinoheJapan

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