Reductive precipitation of soluble hexavalent uranium (U(VI)) to insoluble tetravalent uranium (U(IV)) containing minerals is one of the more promising approaches to uranium remediation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term performance of methanogenic granules for the continuous treatment of U(VI). For this purpose, three sand-packed columns inoculated with anaerobic biofilm were operated with or without ethanol and one column was exposed to nitrate co-contamination. The columns were operated for 373 days and efficiently removed U (24mgL -1) in excess of 99.8%. No long-term benefit of ethanol addition was observed, suggesting that endogenous substrates in the biofilm were sufficient to drive the reduction reactions. Nitrate addition was found to inhibit U(VI) reduction and cause re-oxidation of some U(IV) deposited in the column. Taken as a whole, the results indicate that methanogenic biofilms can be reliably applied in bioreactor technology for sustained U removal from groundwater.
- Methanogenic biomass
- Uranium reduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology