Bioremediation: Manipulating Nuclear and Heavy Metal Waste.

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Bioremediation:

Manipulating nuclear and heavy metal waste.

S James Parsons Jr

Coastal Carolina Community College
Formal Report

Prepared for

Professor Haridas, Seema

BIO-275C-05N-Microbiology

April 23, 2013

Table of Contents

ABSTRACT…………………………………………………………………….....……………. 3

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………… 3

CONCLUSION……………………………………………………...………………………… 5

REFERENCES ………………………………………………………………………………. 6

Abstract

The cost of progression, as consumption for food, electronics, materials goods, and energy increase, so does the externality of pollution. To keep up with the industrial world demand for power, and with the reducing resources of traditions fuels, science and ingenuity has lead to nuclear power. Nuclear fusion powers the stars and nuclear fission powers 20% of the United States, but at a cost of nuclear waste. The future is here, with the help of microscopic organisms, toxic and nuclear waste can be process to remove the hazards to our environment. This science is called bioremediation.

Introduction

Its early Tuesday morning, and you have to remember to take your recycling to the street corner for the city to pickup. Once the city picks up your used; aluminum, steel, paper, and other recyclable materials, it is sorted into homogeneous piles, and process accordingly. Nuclear waste is dangerous when exposed to people and is very hard to recycle. But there is another way, bioremediation. Bioremediation takes specific bacteria or engineered bacteria for the job of processing toxic waste into a more disposable form. Compared to most organisms, metabolism is a key component in life, metabolism is the ability for the organism to process chemicals to maintain life. These bacteria metabolizes the nuclear / toxic refuse and the waste matter produced by the bacteria is a desired product for recycling or reusing. Currently, scientists are exploiting the chelating, ability to hold properties of bacteria to convert soluble Uranium 6+ Ion into solid Uranium 4+ Ion.

Nuclear power plant uses Uranium 235, to produce energy by fusion, smashing the atom with a neutron to produce energy. The Uranium 235 used in nuclear reactors is refined from Uranium hexafluoride, which is mined in the natural form of Uranium 6+, 6+ denotes an ion where six electrons are missing from the outer orbitals of the atomic structure. The problem with this Uranium 6+ ion is that its very soluble in water, making it virtually impossible to prevent from it leaching to the ground water. This Uranium 6+ ion is a toxin that poisons the environment. Scientists have found ways to use microscope bacteria to covert Uranium 6+ ion into Uranium 4+ which is not water soluble and is idea form to work with. The process starts by using bacteria that can utilize Iron Oxide (FeO), which catalyzed the electron donor chain and promotes the Uranium 6+ ion to convert to Uranium 4+ ion (http://water.usgs.gov, 2013).

Cellular respiration is the technical name for a microscope organism to eat food. But unlike other life forms, bacteria can pull the energy required for life from unlikely food stuffs. Most bacteria used in bioremediation metabolize oils from oil spills or from contaminated soil. These bacteria use petroleum, a long complex hydrocarbon, as a food source in their cellular respiration cycle. Once the bacteria eats the pollutant the byproduct is water (H2O) and Carbon dioxide (CO2), which are not toxic to the environment. But bioremediation can also work on heavy metals.

The Shewanella putrefaciens and Geobacter metallireducens are bacteria when introduced to a anaerobic conditions they require oxygen to preform cellular respiration, this oxygen is acquired from the oxygen attached to the heavy metal ions. These two bacteria absorb the heavy metal ion...
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