JAPAN | Microbes used to remove cesium in water and soil

Posted on July 6, 2011


JAPAN | NHK | Wednesday, July 06, 2011 16:28 +0900 (JST)

Japanese researchers have found that microbes could help remove cesium from water and soil, raising hopes for their use in decontamination efforts around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

A team led by Professor Ken Sasaki of Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University has for 10 years been studying ways to remove metals using microbes called phototrophic bacteria.

Such removal is possible because negative ions on the microbes attract positively charged metals.

The team recently experimented with 2.5 grams of cesium mixed in water, and about 90 grams of microbes.

The cesium dropped to one-twelfth its original density in 24 hours, and was gone by the third day. The same effect was confirmed in soil.

The team says the microbes could very likely also remove radioactive cesium from around the plant, and plans to test soil and water in Fukushima Prefecture to put the method into practical use.

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