Closterium moniliferum, one type of micro algae that live in fresh water, has the potential to clean up nuclear waste that dissolves in water. The potential is described by scientists at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois, Minna Krejci, in the event the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California.
According to Krejci, algae are capable of cleaning waste of Strontium-90, one of the most dangerous nuclear waste and has a half-life of 30 years. Closterium moniliferum will filter Strontium-90 from water, accumulate in the cell was called the vacuole and mengendapkannya in crystalline form.
There are many challenges to realizing that potential. First, nuclear reactor waste and radioactive material was accidentally come out richer in calcium than strontium. This complicates the accumulation strobnsium into algal cells without having to accumulate klasiumnya. “We need a method for selecting a highly selective and efficient,” said Krejci.
Second, this algae is actually more “love” on barium so that tends to take these elements than strontium. But, because strontium has the size and characteristics between barium and calcium, the strontium will also be drawn. Meanwhile, calcium which have further properties of these elements will be missed or did not accumulate.
Now Kreijci are trying to determine the crystal formation and accumulation of strontium is more selective. So far, it has been known that algae never intentionally bring strontium into the cells. Crystals are formed because of the high concentration of sulfate in the vacuole, causing the barium and strontium with a low solubility rapid buildup.
To optimize the accumulation of strontium, Kerijci have few alternatives. Nuclear waste or radioactive material could accidentally out enriched with barium so that spur algae to take strontium as well. According Kreijci, this is not difficult because very little barium is needed.
Another possibility is to reverse the concentration of sulfate in the algae grow, so will affect change in sulfate concentration in the vacuole. “Once we know how cells respond to this condition, we can think more elegant about how to manipulate it,” said Kreijci who publish his ideas in the journal Nature.
Until now test the resilience of Closterium Kreijci yet moniliferum in radioactive environments. But, despite a low resistance, algae can accumulate strontium certainly because the process only takes a short time. “Only 30 minutes to 1 hour to precipitate crystals. If extra is needed, they are easy to cultured,” said Kreijci.
Gija Geme, chemists from the University of Central Missouri said, “These are hot topics.” According to him, study metal pengakumulasian Krejci on a very significant impact on the environment. He asked not too long Kreijci to investigate why the alga to accumulate these elements prior to test it directly in the clean up radioactive waste.