To gain insights into the risks associated with uranium (U) mining and processing, we investigated the biogeochemical controls of U bioavailability in the model freshwater speciesLymnaea stagnalis (Gastropoda). Bioavailability of dissolved U(VI) was characterized in controlled laboratory experiments over a range of water hardness, pH, and in the presence of complexing ligands in the form of dissolved natural organic matter (DOM). Results show that dissolved U is bioavailable under all the geochemical conditions tested. Uranium uptake rates follow first order kinetics over a range encompassing most environmental concentrations. Uranium uptake rates in L. stagnalis ultimately demonstrate saturation uptake kinetics when exposure concentrations exceed 100 nM, suggesting uptake via a finite number of carriers or ion channels. The lack of a relationship between U uptake rate constants and Ca uptake rates suggest that U does not exclusively use Ca membrane transporters. In general, U bioavailability decreases with increasing pH, increasing Ca and Mg concentrations, and when DOM is present. Competing ions did not affect U uptake rates. Speciation modeling that includes formation constants for U ternary complexes reveals that the aqueous concentration of dicarbonato U species (UO2(CO3)2–2) best predicts U bioavailability to L. stagnalis, challenging the free-ion activity model postulate.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Biogeochemical controls of uranium bioavailability from the dissolved phase in natural freshwaters|
|Series title||Environmental Science & Technology|
|Contributing office(s)||Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, Colorado Water Science Center, National Research Program - Central Branch, National Research Program - Western Branch|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|