Uranium and Its Love of Organic Matter – #365papers – 2017 – 36

#365papers for February 5, 2017

Bone, Dynes, Cliff, and Bargar, 2017, Uranium(IV) adsorption by natural organic matter in anoxic sediments: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 114, p. 711-716.

What’s it about?

This paper is about the behavior of the element uranium, specifically ‘tetravalent’ uranium, or U4+, with organic matter. How does it react and attach (adsorb)? How toxic is it? Etc.

Why does it matter?

Uranium is an important carbon-free fuel source, as well as a pollutant. We need to know what to do with it, how to store it etc., to be able to use it as safely as possible.

Why did I read this?

Once upon a time, back when I was a graduate student, I studied how uranium in groundwater could do a real number on fossil bones. That is to say, the uranium could set into motion a series of reactions that would cause the bone to be lost, as well as any calcite and organic matter in the sediments. So, this paper caught my eye. I did giggle a bit that the first author is named Bone.

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