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

Oxford Instruments and Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory collaborate to develop HTS magnet technology components for high field superconducting magnet systems June 29th, 2016

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

Ultrathin, flat lens resolves chirality and color: Multifunctional lens could replace bulky, expensive machines June 25th, 2016

Particle zoo in a quantum computer: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena June 23rd, 2016

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Discoveries

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

Announcements

Oxford Instruments and Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory collaborate to develop HTS magnet technology components for high field superconducting magnet systems June 29th, 2016

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

New, better way to build circuits for world's first useful quantum computers June 28th, 2016

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

New 'ukidama' nanoparticle structure revealed June 14th, 2016

Rice wins award to recruit cancer researcher: $2 million CPRIT grant aims to bring MIT researcher Omid Veiseh to Houston June 7th, 2016

Nanobiotix receives US$1m milestone payment from PharmaEngine: First patient injected with NBTXR3 in soft tissue sarcoma registration phase in Asia May 31st, 2016

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition May 23rd, 2016

Environment

The use of nanoparticles and bioremediation to decontaminate polluted soils June 14th, 2016

UQ research accelerates next-generation ultra-precise sensing technology June 10th, 2016

VentureLab nanotechnology startup wins TechConnect Innovation Award June 2nd, 2016

The next generation of carbon monoxide nanosensors May 26th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool': Rapid discovery power is similar to what gene chips offer biology June 25th, 2016

VentureLab nanotechnology startup wins TechConnect Innovation Award June 2nd, 2016

Tiny probe could produce big improvements in batteries and fuel cells: A new method helps scientists get an atom's level understanding of electrochemical properties June 1st, 2016

Technique improves the efficacy of fuel cells: Research demonstrates a new phase transition from metal to ionic conductor May 18th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Building a smart cardiac patch: 'Bionic' cardiac patch could one day monitor and respond to cardiac problems June 28th, 2016

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Tailored DNA shifts electrons into the 'fast lane': DNA nanowire improved by altering sequences June 22nd, 2016

Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed: Self-assembling icosahedral protein designed June 22nd, 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