Contributions of adsorption, bioreduction and desorption to uranium immobilization by extracellular polymeric substances

Chen Zhou, Ermias Gebrekrstos Tesfamariam, Youneng Tang, Ang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hexavalent uranium (U(VI)) can be immobilized by various microbes. The role of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in U(VI) immobilization has not been quantified. This work provides a model framework to quantify the contributions of three processes involved in EPS-mediated U(VI) immobilization: adsorption, bioreduction and desorption. Loosely associated EPS was extracted from a pure bacterial strain, Klebsiella sp. J1, and then exposed to H2 and O2 (no bioreduction control) to immobilize U(VI) in batch experiments. U(VI) immobilization was faster when exposed to H2 than O2 and stabilized at 94% for H2 and 85% for O2, respectively. The non-equilibrium data from the H2 experiments were best simulated by a kinetic model consisting of pseudo-second-order adsorption (ka = 2.87 × 10−3 g EPS·(mg U)−1·min−1), first-order bioreduction (kb = 0.112 min−1) and first-order desorption (kd = 7.00 × 10−3 min−1) and fitted the experimental data with R2 of 0.999. While adsorption was dominant in the first minute of the experiments with H2, bioreduction was dominant from the second minute to the 50th min. After 50 min, adsorption was negligible, and bioreduction was balanced by desorption. This work also provides the first set of equilibrium data for U(VI) adsorption by EPS alone. The equilibrium experiments with O2 were well simulated by both the Langmuir isotherm and the Freundlich isotherm, suggesting multiple mechanisms involved in the interactions between U(VI) and EPS. The thermodynamic study indicated that the adsorption of U(VI) onto EPS was endothermic, spontaneous and favorable at higher temperatures. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107
JournalFrontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Adsorption
  • Bioreduction
  • Desorption
  • Isotherm
  • Kinetics
  • Uranium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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