Watson, J.H.P., Croudace, I.W., Warwick, P.E., James, P.A.B., Charnock, J.M. and Ellwood, D.C.
Adsorption of radioactive metals by strongly magnetic iron sulfide nanoparticles produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria
Separation Science and Technology, 36, (12), . (doi:10.1081/SS-100107214).
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The adsorption of a number of radioactive ions from solution by a strongly magnetic iron sulfide material was studied. The material was produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria in a novel bioreactor. The uptake was rapid and loading on the adsorbent was high due to the high surface area of the adsorbent and because many of the ions were chemisorbed. The structural properties were examined with high-resolution imaging and electron diffraction by transmission electron microscopy. The adsorbent surface area was determined to be 400-5OOm(2)/g by adsorption of heavy metals, the magnetic properties, neutron scattering, and transmission electron microscopy. The adsorption of a number of radionuclides was examined at considerably lower concentration than in previous work with these adsorbent materials. A number of ions studied are of interest to the nuclear industry, particularly the pertechnetate ion (TcO4-). Tc-99 is a radionuclide thought to determine the long-term environmental impact of the nuclear fuel cycle because of its long half-life and because it occurs normally in the form of the highly soluble pertechnetate ion, which can enter the food chain. This bacteria-generated iron sulfide may provide a suitable matrix for the long-term safe storage of the pertechnetate ion. Also, because of the prevalence of the anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacteria worldwide and, in particular, in sediments, the release of radioactive heavy metals or toxic heavy metals into the environment could be engineered so that they are immobilized by sulfate-reducing bacteria or the adsorbents that they produce and removed from the food chain
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