Responses of microbial community functional structures to pilot-scale uranium in situ bioremediation. Academic Article uri icon


  • A pilot-scale field test system with an inner loop nested within an outer loop was constructed for in situ U(VI) bioremediation at a US Department of Energy site, Oak Ridge, TN. The outer loop was used for hydrological protection of the inner loop where ethanol was injected for biostimulation of microorganisms for U(VI) reduction/immobilization. After 2 years of biostimulation with ethanol, U(VI) levels were reduced to below drinking water standard (<30 microg l(-1)) in the inner loop monitoring wells. To elucidate the microbial community structure and functions under in situ uranium bioremediation conditions, we used a comprehensive functional gene array (GeoChip) to examine the microbial functional gene composition of the sediment samples collected from both inner and outer loop wells. Our study results showed that distinct microbial communities were established in the inner loop wells. Also, higher microbial functional gene number, diversity and abundance were observed in the inner loop wells than the outer loop wells. In addition, metal-reducing bacteria, such as Desulfovibrio, Geobacter, Anaeromyxobacter and Shewanella, and other bacteria, for example, Rhodopseudomonas and Pseudomonas, are highly abundant in the inner loop wells. Finally, the richness and abundance of microbial functional genes were highly correlated with the mean travel time of groundwater from the inner loop injection well, pH and sulfate concentration in groundwater. These results suggest that the indigenous microbial communities can be successfully stimulated for U bioremediation in the groundwater ecosystem, and their structure and performance can be manipulated or optimized by adjusting geochemical and hydrological conditions.

published proceedings

  • ISME J

author list (cited authors)

  • Xu, M., Wu, W., Wu, L., He, Z., Van Nostrand, J. D., Deng, Y. e., ... Zhou, J.

citation count

  • 96

complete list of authors

  • Xu, Meiying||Wu, Wei-Min||Wu, Liyou||He, Zhili||Van Nostrand, Joy D||Deng, Ye||Luo, Jian||Carley, Jack||Ginder-Vogel, Matthew||Gentry, Terry J||Gu, Baouhua||Watson, David||Jardine, Philip M||Marsh, Terence L||Tiedje, James M||Hazen, Terry||Criddle, Craig S||Zhou, Jizhong

publication date

  • January 2010