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 Post subject: Biological Uranium?
PostPosted: Jun 02, 2017 10:33 am 
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A New Twist on Uranium's Origin Story

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They found that up to 89 percent of the uranium from their 650-foot-deep samples wasn't crystalline uraninite at all, but rather, a non-crystalline uranium that was bound to organic matter or inorganic carbonate. Most of the uranium they found in that unmined site is estimated to be 3 million years old, and formed via reduction by microorganisms ­- microbes that respire not on oxygen, but on uranium.


The "greens" might really choke on the idea of biological organisms that actually utilize uranium. I've been told for many years by chemists that uranium has remarkable chemistry potential. I wouldn't be surprised if organisms found a way to exploit that chemistry.


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 Post subject: Re: Biological Uranium?
PostPosted: Aug 01, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Helpful uranium-munching bacteria breathe it through electric wires

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It’s well known that some members of Geobacter can utilize uranium as an electron acceptor, similar to how humans use oxygen. As part of that electron transfer reaction, hexavalent uranium (which has a charge of +6) becomes tetravalent uranium (which has a charge of +4). Hexavalent uranium is easily dissolved in water, meaning it is mobile in the subsurface and moves with groundwater flow. Tetravalent uranium, however, quickly precipitates in mineral form, locking it up in the sediment or bedrock. This is what makes the bacteria so helpful at uranium contamination sites—they prevent contamination from spreading in groundwater.


The tetravalent/hexavalent nature of uranium....ah, isn't it wonderful!


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