“Microbial copper reduction method to scavenge anthropogenic radioiodine”
S.Y. Lee, J.Y. Lee, J.H. Min, S.S. Kim, M.H. Baik, S.Y. Chung, M. Lee, Y. Lee
Unexpected reactor accidents and radioisotope production and consumption have led to a continuous increase in the global-scale contamination of radionuclides. In particular, anthropogenic radioiodine has become critical due to its highly volatile mobilization and recycling in global environments, resulting in widespread, negative impact on nature. We report a novel biostimulant method to effectively scavenge radioiodine that exhibits remarkable selectivity for the highly difficult-to-capture radioiodine of >500-fold over other anions, even under circumneutral pH. We discovered a useful mechanism by which microbially reducible copper (i.e., Cu2+ to Cu+) acts as a strong binder for iodide-iodide anions to form a crystalline halide salt of CuI that is highly insoluble in wastewater. The biocatalytic crystallization of radioiodine is a promising way to remove radioiodine in a great capacity with robust growth momentum, further ensuring its long-term stability through nuclear I− fixation via microcrystal formation.