Microbe-Mineral Interactions: Exploring the Use of Microbes for Uranium Bioremediation
When: October 18, 2016 3PM PDT
Depleted uranium is a widespread environmental contaminant that poses a major threat to human health. In contrast to humans and animals where small amount of uranium can cause damage to kidneys, liver and heart, it is well known that some bacteria can tolerate high levels of uranium and influence its mobility and bioavailability in the environment. As a non-pathogenic bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus is an attractive bioremediation candidate. Our results showed that Caulobacter not only endures high concentration of uranium, but immobilizes uranium by promoting mineral precipitation, highlighting a good potential for use in uranium bioremediation. Research efforts in deciphering uranium sensing and resistance mechanisms will also be discussed.