Argonne National Laboratory

How Algae Use a "Sulfate Trap" to Selectively Biomineralize Strontium

October 1, 2011

Over the years, researchers have looked to a small number of organisms, including the desmid green alga Closterium moniliferum, because of their ability to selectively sequester strontium, a skill that could potentially be used to reduce the volume of dangerous strontium waste. However, it was not clear how the algae were capable of doing this. Now, researchers at Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory have uncovered the secrets of the algae utilizing the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne. Now that the mechanism is understood, the researchers postulate that the algae could be used to remediate contaminated environments. More ยป