Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste

Abstract:
Researchers at Michigan State University have unraveled the mystery of how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste and other toxic metals.

Microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste

East Lansing, MI | Posted on September 7th, 2011

Details of the process, which can be improved and patented, are published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The implications could eventually benefit sites forever changed by nuclear contamination, said Gemma Reguera, MSU microbiologist.

"Geobacter bacteria are tiny micro-organisms that can play a major role in cleaning up polluted sites around the world," said Reguera, who is an MSU AgBioResearch scientist. "Uranium contamination can be produced at any step in the production of nuclear fuel, and this process safely prevents its mobility and the hazard for exposure."

The ability of Geobacter to immobilize uranium has been well documented. However, identifying the Geobacters' conductive pili or nanowires as doing the yeoman's share of the work is a new revelation. Nanowires, hair-like appendages found on the outside of Geobacters, are the managers of electrical activity during a cleanup.

"Our findings clearly identify nanowires as being the primary catalyst for uranium reduction," Reguera said. "They are essentially performing nature's version of electroplating with uranium, effectively immobilizing the radioactive material and preventing it from leaching into groundwater."

The nanowires also shield Geobacter and allow the bacteria to thrive in a toxic environment, she added.

Their effectiveness was proven during a cleanup in a uranium mill tailings site in Rifle, Colo. Researchers injected acetate into contaminated groundwater. Since this is Geobacters' preferred food, it stimulated the growth of the Geobacter community already in the soil, which in turn, worked to remove the uranium, Reguera said.

Reguera and her team of researchers were able to genetically engineer a Geobacter strain with enhanced nanowire production. The modified version improved the efficiency of the bacteria's ability to immobilize uranium proportionally to the number of nanowires while subsequently improving its viability as a catalytic cell.

Reguera has filed patents to build on her research, which could lead to the development of microbial fuel cells capable of generating electricity while cleaning up after environmental disasters.

The research team included Dena Cologgi and Allison Speers, MSU graduate students, and Sanela Lampa-Pastirk and Shelly Kelly, post-doctoral researchers. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science and the U.S. Department of Energy funded the study.

####

About Michigan State University
Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Layne Cameron

517-353-8817

Copyright © Michigan State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Nanoparticles hold promise as double-edged sword against genital herpes April 28th, 2016

Discoveries

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

Superfast light source made from artificial atom April 28th, 2016

Announcements

Cooling graphene-based film close to pilot-scale production April 30th, 2016

Personal cooling units on the horizon April 29th, 2016

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material April 29th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

System creates on-demand 'nanotube forests,' has potential industry applications April 20th, 2016

Smaller. Cheaper. Better. Iron nitride transformers developed at Sandia could boost energy storage options March 28th, 2016

Correction: Solar fuels: Protective layer for the 'artificial leaf' March 22nd, 2016

New nanoparticle technology to decipher structure and function of membrane proteins March 9th, 2016

Environment

Team builds first quantum cascade laser on silicon: Eliminates the need for an external light source for mid-infrared silicon photonic devices or photonic circuits April 21st, 2016

Atomically thin sensor detects harmful air pollution in the home April 18th, 2016

Catalyst could make production of key chemical more eco-friendly April 10th, 2016

Nanoporous material's strange "breathing" behavior April 7th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Ruthenium nanoframes open the doors to better catalysts April 4th, 2016

Saving sunshine for a rainy day: New catalyst offers efficient storage of green energy: Team led by U of T Engineering designs world's most efficient catalyst for storing energy as hydrogen by splitting water molecules March 28th, 2016

Carbon leads the way in clean energy: Groundbreaking research at Griffith University is leading the way in clean energy, with the use of carbon as a way to deliver energy using hydrogen March 23rd, 2016

Physicists prove energy input predicts molecular behavior: Theoretical proof could lead to more reliable nanomachines March 22nd, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Nanoparticles hold promise as double-edged sword against genital herpes April 28th, 2016

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARC-521 April 28th, 2016

The Translational Research Center at the University Hospital of Erlangen in Germany uses the ZetaView from Particle Metrix to quantify extracellular vesicles such as exosomes April 28th, 2016

JPK reports on the use of a NanoWizard AFM system at the University of Kaiserslautern to study the interaction of bacteria with microstructured surfaces April 28th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic