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Thread: Depleted Uranium hazards and the Surprising Solution from Fungi

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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards - Health risks, Birth Defects

    Depleted Uranium In India,
    Spreading Worldwide
    source: Depleted Uranium In India, Spreading Worldwide
    From Karl W B Schwarz

    The following was sent to me by one of the email list members and the author of the article below granted me (and you) permission to spread this far and wide. They are working in India to document the extent of DU pollution that has come out of Afghanistan and fallen upon the people of India. They are working along the same lines we are here in the United States to first prove it, and then put a stop to it and get medical care for the abandoned and neglected.

    This recent * Urgent Deal * between Bush and India might be a Pre-emptive Strike to shut down the efforts in India to prove that DU has bit them in the butt, too.

    We are still waiting to see if any of the nations in Europe wake up to the fact that they got "peppered" with DU too, since the Aldermaston DU would have to have come across them to have made it to the UK.

    This is the article from India and then I'll return at the end with comments and additional information. It is interesting to see how people of other nations view the United States and the Bush-Cheney cabal's use of DU weapons.

    Begin article:

    They Kill Us For Sport

    By Arun Shrivastava CMC

    Depleted uranium is a deadly toy in the hands of the ruling bloodlines. A particle of DU ingested or inhaled can cause one or more of the 90+ seriously debilitating diseases, fatal or temporarily non-fatal.[1] [see list of 91 diseases, Annex 1] The half life of DU is 4.5 billion years, and it can destroy living things and the environment; most importantly it can destroy perfectly healthy lives. [2]

    Depleted uranium has been used in at least the last four wars by the United States and its allies: Gulf War 1, Bosnia and Kosovo in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Gulf War 2. The last two of the four wars, all illegal, took place in 2001 (Afghanistan) and 2003 (Iraq). Effects of the contamination can manifest from within a few hours to five years.

    Evidences clearly indicate that depleted uranium is blowing in the wind all over the world. [3] Its effects on health are showing up in distant lands. Earlier, gulf war veterans and local civilians were affected; now, of all the places, the US is showing six-fold increase in just lung cancer cases.[4]

    The Emerging Ratio

    The population of the USA was 298, 298,906 on March 14, 2006, say 298 million.[5] The recorded 172,000 lung cancer cases for January and February 2006 equates to 34 cases per 10,000 persons-men, women and children- up from the previously normal trend line of 5.8 per 10,000 persons per annum, implying that additional 28.2 cases per 10,000 persons have been added and recorded in a short time. It certainly can't be due to more Americans smoking cigarettes and certainly not due to "other unexplained factors" such as lifestyle changes, which do change but over decades, not a few years. The most plausible one is that the air we breathe is contaminated with depleted uranium and it is killing healthy people all over the world.

    If the population of the United States of America shows such an explosive growth of lung cancer what does it imply for the rest of the world? The world population on the same day and time was 6,503,376,192. Assuming the same ratio as that of the United States, i.e. additional 28.2 cases per 10,000 persons, the world would see, or is probably already facing, an additional 18.34 million cases of untreatable cancer per year, or 1.52 million cases per month. Do they know it?

    Tobacco And Lung Cancer

    "In the 20th century, approximately 100 million people died world-wide from tobacco-associated diseases (cancer, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke)," says a WHO report. [6] This means about one million deaths per year, although it is understandable that there were fewer cases early on in the 20th century as compared to later when the numbers reached nearly 1.5 million. In 2001, there were 1.5 million lung cancer deaths worldwide, or 125,000 per month.[7]

    Now, if the US data shows 172,000 new cases in January-February 2006, an average of 86,000 cases per month, something terrible has happened. Nuclear radiation induced cancers are peculiar: with right facility and correct testing protocol, the murderers can't hide. With care, all the 91radiation induced illnesses, identified by Leuren, can be traced to depleted radiation poisoning.

    The Map Says Something

    The worst contamination would of course occur at and around the theatres of war, but region within 1000 mile radius would face serious depleted uranium contamination. [1]

    1000-mile radius means a total area of 3.14 million square mile. The two circles in the map represent an area of 6.28 million square miles and, deducting say 20% for the overlapping area, the net affected area is just over 5 million square mile. The total land area of earth is about 57.3 million square mile, which implies that roughly 8% of total land area of the earth is now severely contaminated. And I am not including Bosnia and Kosovo theatres of war, which has seriously affected the Balkans as well as the NATO troops.[8]

    (My comment: I wonder if the people of Israel are aware that the desired policy of their government to have the US attacking Arab nations has polluted their nation with DU? Also, you can draw the same such circles around US target ranges, test ranges and military bases where US citizens have been exposed. Additionally, the air flow from Iraq to the UK would have taken the DU contamination across much of Europe. -KS)

    Referring to the map, with Afghanistan's capital Kabul as the centre, depleted uranium affected region includes Pakistan, entire northwest India, parts of Nepal, parts of China, major regions of Central Asian Republics, Iran, and the Gulf countries, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two major financial and trading centres. Taking Baghdad as the centre, the regions affected includes the entire West Asia, parts of Egypt, parts of Greece, Cyprus, regions around the Caspian Sea and islands in the eastern Mediterranean.

    It should be noted that Iran and some littoral states of Caspian Sea have been hit twice (see the overlapping area of the two circles) within two years: in 2001 and again in 2003. Thus the severest effect would be felt in Iran, a few gulf countries, and a few Central Asian states.

    Population Affected

    The total estimated population within the two circles was about 857 million (See Table) in July 2005. If the US is showing a sharp six-fold rise in incidence of lung cancer alone, what will be the fate of these 857 million+ people in the core zones? Washington is exactly 6193.94 miles from radioactive Baghdad; and Kabul is just a bit further, about 6922.93 miles away, also highly radioactive.[9] The capitals of 19 countries are within 1000 mile radius and include New Delhi (621 miles), Islamabad (232), Bishkek (651), Beirut (515), Cairo (806), Ankara (785), Jerusalem (546), Damascus (468), Kuwait City (347), Nikosia (643), Teheran (429), Abu Dabi (856), Aman (503), Riyadh (615), Ashqabat (645) and so on. And Americans are catching lung cancer by the thousands?

    Countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iraq, and some Central Asian States do not even have well established, dependable cancer screening facilities, let alone determining whether the illness is due to depleted uranium contamination or careless handling of toxic pesticides in the farms.

    Governments Will Contineu To Mislead

    There are studies that clearly establish correlation between cancer and exposure to a decoction of pesticides used in India's farmlands and in some of these regions (especially Punjab) the incidences of cancer (of blood, lymphatic systems, esophagus, bone, cervical, etc) ranges from 5.12 to 10.3 per 10,000 persons. In the US itself, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analysis of pesticide residue data on 9282 people nationwide revealed that among those who had blood and urine sample tested, 100% showed pesticide residue.[10] Now, this is a global phenomenon and has definitely caused serious health problems (immune disorder, low birth weight of babies, and a host of other degenerative diseases. But a spike is missing.

    "We can expect to see multiple cancers in one person. These multiple unrelated cancers in the same individual have been reported in Yugoslavia and Iraq in families that had no history of any cancer. This is unknown in the previous studies of cancer," "a new phenomenon," says Leuren Moret. But weakness in data management, investigative techniques, and training of medical and paramedical personnel will be used to the hilt by governments in the affected countries, bribed by the US administration and corporate interests and lulled by the lullaby of the mainstream media, to whitewash the population that DU poisoning is one of the many benign environmental hazards that we must live with, as was done by analysts with "depleted grey matter" in four US government (directly or indirectly) supported studies.[11, 12, 13, 14]

    Long Term Consequences

    In our living memory we have the instance of Chernobyl. Scientists say that Chernobyl was not a nuclear explosion; it was just a huge, hot fire in the nuclear fuel. Yet, the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl contaminated farmlands and livestock around Europe and Scandinavia for a long time, and the radiation is still traceable in the earth and some living things. The regions surrounding Chernobyl shall remain uninhabitable for an estimated three to six hundred years! [15] Depleted uranium is bit nastier; a fact that did occur to the omnicidal maniacs controlling the US administration.

    Now, project this scientific fact over just one country, India. The entire north-western region, including the Himalayas is affected. All perennial rivers flowing from the Himalayas into the Gangetic plains (the Ganga and Yamuna with hundreds of tributaries) and into Pakistan (the five rivers: Indus, Satluj, Jhelum, Ravi and Chenab), will contaminate the largest and oldest food growing area in the world. This region has a high livestock population that supports India's and Pakistan's fuel, food, and farming needs. They will die or will have to be destroyed because of contamination.

    The Northwestern region is also economically the fastest growing region in India, predicted to catch up with Europe in 2020. Migration from slower growing eastern region has swelled the transient population in western Indiaand we are talking about seasonal migration of millions of surplus farm/landless labourers, roughly 5 million live in Delhi alone eking out a living. Poor, physically weak because of inadequate nutrition, without access to proper medical facilities, these people will be severely affected. When they contract one of the 90 odd radiation induced illnesses, they wouldn't even know what destroyed them, what destroyed their families, and what eventually killed them? I am talking about numbers running into millions, every month, in the identified regions.

    Destruction Of The World's Oldest Civilizations

    Getting back to the two regions as a whole, let us not forget that this region gave the world all the modern religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, the Baha'i faith, and hundreds of lesser faiths. People from all over the world throng these regions to pay respects to their messiahs and their Gods, excluding the Pope, of course.

    And despite all odds, these regions sustained life, created wealth, sustained a large population until the European colonialists arrived in the early 18th Century. They destroyed the sustainability of this region, plundered the people and their natural resources, year after year. And when their empire failed, they passed the control of these regions to the US. And what has the US government done? It has destroyed not only some of the greatest civilization the world has ever known; they are destroying their own people.

    Dr Rosalie Bertell says, "Veterans and civilians (in these wars) WERE exposed to DU; and this inhaled DU represents a seriously enhanced risk of damaged immune systems and fatal cancers." "Those immediately downwind (will) die quickly, in hours or days. Those further downwind will take longer."[15] Those around the worldwill eventually suffer an unimaginably painful premature death.

    What Can People Do?

    There is no time to wring one's hands. The people of this global village need to join hands in a global peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation with governments that lie and kill. Let us all form small local committees and ask our governments to come clean on DU. Mobilize support to help veterans and civilians who are suffering without differentiating between race, caste, creed or religion. Tell every person connected with government, civil society, the police, and members of the armed forces that they are all in it up to their neck. Finally, inform yourself, educate your family and neighbourhood; read the hundreds of authoritative papers written by scientists. Is there any reason to fear when all of us are under death sentence for a crime none of us committed? If we continue to cooperate with a few homicidal maniacs it'd make them more arrogant. The power is in your hand.

    Arun Shrivastava is an accredited management consultant.
    He can be contacted at: arun1951@yahoo.com


    [1] Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War, LEUREN MORET / World Affairs * The Journal of International Issues; 1July, 2004. Depleted Uranium: The Trojan Horse of Nuclear War LEUREN MORET / World Affairs – The Journal of International Issues 1jul04
    [2] "Blowing in the wind", produced by xxxx, a must see documentary
    [3] Dr. Rosali Bertell papers: (i) Depleted Uranium as a Weapon of War, August 1999 and (ii) Update on Depleted Uranium and Gulf War Syndrome, Parts 1 to 3; Human Studies; 1 January 2005
    [4] "This is not just a little spike on the charts and much worse is coming," says Karl WB Schwarz, www.rense.com/general69soar.htm
    [5] US & World Population Clock
    [6] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/.../2003/pr27/en/
    [7] Khuri FR, Herbst RS, Fossella FV; Emerging therapy in non-small call lung cancer; Ann Oncol; 12:739-44; 2001.
    [8] (i) "Military Toxics Project: Information Sheet * June 2003; (ii) Heads roll at Veterans Administration: Mushrooming depleted uranium (DU) scandal blamed"; Bob Nichols; Project Censored Award Winner; www.sfbayview.com/012605/headsroll012605.shtml
    (iii) See also "It Turns out Depleted Uranium Is Bad for NATO Troops in Kosovo; [What About Everyone Else?]"; by Felicity Arbuthnot; 26 October, 2000.
    [9] Chemical Ecology - (c) 2006 by John A. Byers
    [10] Analysis of pesticide residues in blood samples from villages in Punjab; CSE/PML/PR-21/2005; jointly conducted by Centre for Science and Environment and Pollution Monitoring Laboratory, New Delhi; 2005. This paper refers to the said CDC report.
    The following four articles #11 to #14, to say the least, understate the problems of DU. At worse, they are misleading. You, are therefore, warned.
    [11] Toxicological Profile for Uranium. Washington, DC: ATSDR, US Public Health Service, US Department of Health & Human Services, September 1999.
    [12] Harley N, Foulkes E., Hilbourne L, Anthony R, Hudson A., A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses, Volume 7: Depleted Uranium, RAND Corporation, National Defense Research Institute, Santa Monica, CA, 1999.
    [13] Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science. Committee on Health Effects Associated with Exposures During the Gulf War, Gulf War and Health, Volume 1. Depleted Uranium, Sarin, Pyridostigmine Bromide, Vaccines, 2000.
    [14] Office Of The Special Assistant To The Deputy Secretary Of Defense For Gulf War Illnesses. Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium, December 13, 2000.
    [15] Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs against Iran: This Way Lies Madness; Stephen M. Osborn, 14 March, GlobalResearch.ca
    Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs againt Iran: This Way Lies Madness

    Annex 1

    Known general illnesses inflicted by internalization of depleted uranium particles; compiled by Ms Leuren Moret from Interviews with Gulf War Vets and their families (partial list)

    1. abnormal births and birth defects

    2. abnormal metabolism of semen: contains amine & ammonium alkaline;

    acute autoimmune symptoms (lung-, liver-, kidney failure); acute myeloid leukemia (deadly within days or weeks)

    3. acute immune system depression

    4. acute respiratory failure

    5, asthma

    6. auto-immune deficiencies

    7.Balkan-syndrome - blood in stools and urine

    8. body function control loss

    9. bone cancer

    10. brain damage

    11 brain tumors

    12. burning semen

    13. burning sensations

    14. calcium loss in body

    14. cardiovascular signs or symptoms

    15. chemical sensitivities

    16. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    17. chronic kidney and liver disorders

    18. chronic myeloid leukemia

    19. chronic respiratory infections

    20. colon cancer

    21. confusion

    22. diarrhea

    23. digestive problems

    24. dizziness

    25. Epstein Barr Syndrome

    26. fluid buildup

    27. fibromyalgia

    28. gastrointestinal signs/symptoms

    29. general fatigue

    30. genetic alterations

    31. glandular carcinoma

    32. Gulf war-syndrome

    33. headaches (severe)

    34. heart attack/disease

    35. high blood pressure

    36. high frequency of micturition

    37. Hodgkin lymphoma

    38. immune system deficiency

    39. infections

    40. insomnia

    41. involuntary movements

    42. joint/muscle/leg pain

    43. kidney failure/damage

    44. leukemia

    45. liver carcinoma

    46. loss of feeling in fingers

    47. Lou Gehrigs Disease -ALS

    48. low blood oxygen saturation

    ( low HbO2)

    49. low lung volume

    50. lung damage

    51. lung cancer

    52. lymph cancer

    53. lymphoma

    54. melanoma

    55. memory loss

    56. metallic taste

    57. Microplasma fermentans/ incognitis infections

    58. mood swings * violence

    59. homicide/suicide

    60. multiple cancers

    61. multiple myeloma

    62. myeloma

    63. muscle pain

    64. nerve damage

    65. neuro-muscular degenerative disease

    66. non-Hodgkin lymphoma

    67. other malignancies

    68. pancreas carcinoma

    69. Parkinsons disease

    70. petit & grand mal fits

    71. rashes

    72. reactive airway disease

    73. reduced IQ

    74. respiratory ailments

    75. shortness of breath

    76. sinus diseases

    77. skin cancer

    78. skin damage: sweat glands with trapped du-particles

    79. skin infections

    80. skin spotting

    81. smell, loss of

    82. sleep disturbances

    83. stiffening of fingers

    84. teeth crumbling

    85. thyroid cancer

    86. thyroid disease

    87. unable to walk

    88. unusual fevers/night sweats

    89. unusual hair loss

    90. vision problems

    91. weight loss

    (End of article)

    Our DU detoxification affiliate recently tested persons in Bahrain and they are indeed exposed to DU. They have not been able to establish a large enough group to project what percentage of the Bahrain population is DU positive but it will be high enough. Additionally, it is a DU exposure that should have never happened. Bahrain falls within the map above and you can see in the table how many citizens are potentially affected just in that one nation.

    In the sample population that was tested, about 80% of them were DU positive.

    The implications are far greater however when you consider the Aldermaston Report that detected DU spikes as far away as the UK after the bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The Desert Storm matter never ended because during the 12 years of sanctions and No-Fly Zone, both the Clinton * Gore Administration and Bush * Cheney Administration continued to bomb with DU weapons and even hitting non-military targets like water treatment plants, waste sewage plants, etc to "bomb Iraq into the Stone Age", to quote Zionist Neocon Edward Luttwak.

    That list above of known negative health effects of being exposed to DU can be replicated almost anywhere in the United States by interviewing veterans of any given US Army or Marine group and conducting the proper medical tests. These are the same types of tests that VA either does not want to run or they do not accurately report to the veteran patient their true medical condition. Why? Because that would become prima facia evidence against the United States government.

    If the US government admits to this and starts providing the appropriate treatment they are admitting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    A single DU atom can upend the health of a human body and it is even uglier if that particular person is also exposed to Strontium 90, U-236, Plutonium 239 or Neptunium 239 that decays back into Plutonium. All of those are man-made and only come from the inside of nuclear core reactions in nuclear power plants. Each of those isotopes are known to be extremely deadly and harmful to the health of anyone that comes into contact with them.

    Medical and scientific experts have known for years that radon is dangerous to your health, concentrates in basements, and causes lung cancer and other types of malignancies. The US government does not even pretend that radon is not harmful.

    So, what is Radon?


    2. What is Radon?

    Radon-222 is a radioactive gas released during the natural decay of thorium and uranium, which are common, naturally occurring elements found in varying amounts in rock and soil. Odorless, invisible, and without taste, radon cannot be detected with the human senses.

    Radon-222 decays into radioactive elements, two of which -- polonium-218 and polonium-214 -- emit alpha particles, which are highly effective in damaging lung tissues. These alpha-emitting radon decay products have been implicated in a causal relationship with lung cancer in humans.

    Radon is created during the slow breakdown of uranium that is naturally occurring in the environment. It is an odorless, colorless, deadly gas.

    Radon | Indoor Air Quality | US EPA

    "We know that radon is a carcinogen. This research confirms that breathing low levels of radon can lead to lung cancer."

    Now, if it is deadly as a gas in your basement, how much more dangerous and deadly is it if the decaying is happening in your body?

    As disclosed in the Depleted Uranium, Twenty-First Edition, uranium is a metal in the actinide class of metals and can seek out to bond with other elements to create hydrides, fluorides, chlorides, hydrides, oxides, uranates, a water-soluble form known as uranyl, and organometallics. It is also known to have an affinity for phosphates and can emit alpha particles within the human body that can break both chains of the DNA because it is "point blank" so to speak and inside of the human body.

    I was stunned and infuriated when doctors and nurses at Landstuhl, Germany confirmed that they were finding DU positive soldiers and were ordered to make no written record, take blood, freeze it and the Pentagon would check back in two or three years. That folks is nothing short of criminal negligence in its sheerest definition..

    You have to stop and ponder that the leaders of the land of the free and the home of the brave are merely a bunch of cowards and war criminals that refuse to face the consequences of their own actions.

    Our military soldiers go into service as some of the most physically fit people on this planet and come home chronically ill. That is a fact and that is something the U.S. government does not want you to know. They would rather ignore the problem, but we say enough is enough in the ignoring the problem to death, figuratively and literally.

    We are moving to use an arsenal of detoxification methodologies, internal medicine and nanotechnology at the human body level and in a new generation of medical devices.

    In a way, it will be a different type of war but this one is to save those neglected and abandoned by our own government.

    Next time you see one of the D.C. twits smiling for the camera with the troops, remember all that you have learned about DU recently. They are not great leaders; they are callous and inhumane people on both sides of the aisle. They are war criminals, guilty of genocide and should be viewed and treated as such.

    The DU, Strontium 90, U-236, Plutonium 239 and Neptunium 239 that decays back into Plutonium cause the types of medical abnormalities listed above and some that are not on that list. Even the anthrax vaccine is known to cause early onset of amyloidosis at far greater percentages than the normal adult population and that alone is known to cause melanoma, a deadly form of cancer.

    They (Democrats, Republicans, defense contractors) are wrecking the lives and health of tens of millions of people and therefore are not fit for leadership of this Republic. The only thing they deserve is a court, a jury, and justice handed down to them for their actions.

    Best regards,


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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards - Health risks, Birth Defects

    ** Mycologist Paul Stamets studies the mycelium -- and lists 6 ways that this astonishing fungus can help save the world.


    Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

    Last edited by day; March 28th, 2010 at 06:45 PM.

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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards - Health risks, Birth Defects

    Role of fungi in the biogeochemical fate of depleted uranium

    Marina Fomina1, John M. Charnock2, Stephen Hillier3, Rebeca Alvarez4, Francis Livens4 and Geoffrey M. Gadd1, Go To Corresponding Author,

    1 Division of Molecular and Environmental Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK
    2 Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS) Daresbury Laboratory, Daresbury, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 4AD, UK
    3 Macaulay Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, Scotland, UK
    4 School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
    Corresponding author

    * The testing of depleted uranium (DU; a 97.25% U:0.75% Ti alloy) ammunition and its use in recent war campaigns in Iraq (1991 and 2003) and the Balkans (1995 and 1999) has led to dispersion of thermodynamically unstable DU metal into the environment [1,2,3]. Although less radioactive, DU has the same chemotoxicity as natural uranium and poses a threat to human populations [1]. Uranium tends to form stable aqueous complexes and precipitates with organic ligands [4], suggesting that living organisms could play an important role in geochemical transformations and cycling. Fungi are one of the most biogeochemically active components of the soil microbiota [5], particularly in the aerobic plant-root zone. Although the mutualistic symbiotic associations (mycorrhizas) of fungi with plants are particularly important in mineral transformations [5], fungal effects on metallic DU have not been studied. Here, we report that free-living and plant symbiotic (mycorrhizal) fungi can colonize DU surfaces and transform metallic DU into uranyl phosphate minerals.

    source: Current Biology - Role of fungi in the biogeochemical fate of depleted uranium

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    research shows fungi - mushrooms - maybe the answer to clean up the environment from depleted uranium

    details of study pdf download link: http://haploidreturn.com/PIIS0960982208003096.pdf

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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards-Health risks, Birth Defects, Enviromental Dangers, Solut

    Fungi have a hand in depleted uranium's environmental fate
    source: Science Centric | News | Fungi have a hand in depleted uranium's environmental fate

    Fungi may have an important role to play in the fate of potentially dangerous depleted uranium left in the environment after recent war campaigns, according to a new report in the 6 May issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.

    The researchers found evidence that fungi can 'lock' depleted uranium into a mineral form that may be less likely to find its way into plants, animals, or the water supply.

    'This work provides yet another example of the incredible properties of microorganisms in effecting transformations of metals and minerals in the natural environment,' said Geoffrey Gadd of the University of Dundee in Scotland. 'Because fungi are perfectly suited as biogeochemical agents, often dominate the biota in polluted soils, and play a major role in the establishment and survival of plants through their association with roots, fungal-based approaches should not be neglected in remediation attempts for metal-polluted soils.'

    The testing of depleted-uranium ammunition and its recent use in Iraq and the Balkans has led to contamination of the environment with the unstable metal, Gadd explained. Depleted uranium differs from natural uranium in the balance of isotopes it contains. It is the byproduct of uranium enrichment for use in nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons and is valued for its very high density. Although less radioactive than natural uranium, depleted uranium is just as toxic and poses a threat to people.

    In the new study, the researchers found that free-living and plant symbiotic (mycorrhizal) fungi can colonise depleted-uranium surfaces and transform the metal into uranyl phosphate minerals.

    While they probably still pose some threat, he said, 'The fungal-produced minerals are capable of long-term uranium retention, so this may help prevent uptake of uranium by plants, animals, and microbes. It might also prevent the spent uranium from leaching out from the soil.'

    Gadd said that a combination of environmental and biological factors is involved in the process. First, the unstable uranium metal gets coated with a layer of oxides. Moisture in the environment also 'corrodes' the depleted uranium, encouraging fungal colonisation and growth. While the fungi grow, they produce acidic substances, which corrode the depleted uranium even further. Some of the substances produced include organic acids that convert the uranium into a form that the fungi can take up or that can interact with other compounds. Ultimately, he said, the interaction of soluble forms of uranium with phosphate leads to the formation of the new uranium minerals that get deposited around the fungal biomass.

    'We have shown for the first time that fungi can transform metallic uranium into minerals, which are capable of long-term uranium retention,' the researchers concluded. 'This phenomenon could be relevant to the future development of various remediation and revegetation techniques for uranium-polluted soils.'

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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards-Health risks, Birth Defects, Enviromental Dangers, Solut

    Last edited by day; March 28th, 2010 at 06:54 PM.

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    Re: Depleted Uranium Hazards-Health risks, Birth Defects, Enviromental Dangers, Solut

    Uranium munching fungi

    source: The Hindu : Sci Tech : Uranium munching fungi

    Recently, Dundee University researchers found evidence that fungi can “lock” depleted uranium (DU) into a mineral form that may be less likely to find its way into plants, animals or water supply (Current Biology, May 6).

    Depleted uranium

    In a new report, they claimed that fungi may have an important role to play in the fate of potentially dangerous depleted uranium left in the environment during the war in Iraq (in 1991 and 2003) and in the Balkans (in 1995 and 1999).

    DU is a by-product of uranium enrichment process. It is used to make ammunition because it is dense; also it resists deformation. When a DU round hits a target, it preserves its shape and “self- sharpens”, as it moves forward. Uranium dust generated at the time of impact can create a fierce fire, as uranium is pyrophoric.

    British and US forces fired about 320 tonnes of depleted uranium munitions in the 1991 gulf war and may have used up to 2000 tonnes in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. (The British Medical Journal, November 11, 2006). DU is 40 per cent less radioactive than natural uranium. It is chemically toxic like cadmium or lead. The Royal Society studied the possible health impacts of DU.
    Long term threat

    “Our study … concluded that the soil around the impact site of depleted uranium penetrators may be heavily contaminated, and could be harmful if swallowed by children, for example. In addition, large numbers of corroding depleted uranium penetrators embedded in the ground might pose a long term threat if the uranium leaches into water supplies,” Professor Brian Spratt, who chaired the Royal Society Working Group, clarified.

    Royal Society recommended that the fragments of depleted uranium penetrators should be removed and areas of contamination around depleted uranium penetrator impact site should be identified and, where necessary made safe.

    The uranium munching fungi may be useful agents in remediation and re-vegetation techniques for soils polluted by uranium. These humble living things serve nature uniquely and incredibly. Some decompose organic matter.

    Any material lying un-protected for some time in humid conditions will have hair like fungi growing on them. Some of these fungi have very useful biogeochemical properties.

    All the species of fungi tested by UK researchers exhibited high DU tolerance. They could colonize uranium metal surfaces forming moisture-retaining bio-films. Fungi grew in the form of fine filaments.
    Metal coupon

    In the presence of air, the metal coupon corroded producing black and yellow decomposition products; they formed mixed oxides.

    Fungal bio-films retained moisture on DU surfaces and facilitated corrosion. DU-colonizing fungi grew over the corrosion products.

    After interacting with the DU metal, the fungi filaments developed a yellow hue in its growing part clearly demonstrating uranyl migration.

    The metal coupons lost 5.5-8 per cent of weight over three months. Scientists studied the chemical species released in the micro-environment. DU- exposed fungi produced oxalic acid. Most such fungi showed greater accumulation of uranium with increasing amounts of excreted oxalate (Cell Biology, May 6, 2008)

    DU-exposed fungi exhibited a notable ability to accumulate mobilized uranium in their biomass to the extent of 0.3 to 0.4 g per g of dry weight. The scientists clearly demonstrated extensive bio-mineralization by using sophisticated analytical tools.
    Leaching out

    Geoffrey Gadd, one of the researchers asserted that the fungal-produced minerals are capable of long term retention, so this may prevent uptake of uranium by plants, animals and microbes.

    “It might also prevent the spent uranium from leaching out from the soil.” he claimed.

    Cleaning up a vast uranium contaminated area is yet to be demonstrated.


    Former Secretary, AERB


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    Fungi can ‘detoxify’ depleted uranium

    source: Fungi can ‘detoxify’ depleted uranium

    London, May 6 (IANS) Popular imagination associates fungi with rotting or stale food, least suspecting that it could have some incredible fixing properties. For example, it can fix and detoxify depleted uranium, a lethal wartime residue, by preventing its leaching into plants, animals or water supply, according to a study.

    Researchers found that free-living and plant symbiotic (mycorrhizal) fungi can colonise depleted-uranium surfaces and transform the metal into uranyl phosphate minerals.

    “The fungal-produced minerals are capable of long-term uranium retention, so this may help prevent uptake of uranium by plants, animals, and microbes,” said Geoffrey Gadd, from the University of Dundee in Scotland.

    “Because fungi are perfectly suited as biogeochemical agents, fungal-based approaches should not be neglected in remediation attempts for metal-polluted soils,” said Gadd.

    The testing of depleted-uranium ammunition and its recent use in Iraq and the Balkans has contaminated the soil with the unstable metal, Gadd explained.

    Depleted uranium is the by-product of uranium enrichment for use in nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons, valued for its high density. Although less radioactive than natural uranium, the depleted version is just as toxic and poses a threat to people.

    These findings appeared in Tuesday’s issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.

    More at : Fungi can ‘detoxify’ depleted uranium Fungi can ‘detoxify’ depleted uranium

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    Patience Pays Off With Methanol For Uranium Bioremediation

    source: Patience Pays Off With Methanol For Uranium Bioremediation

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009) — The legacy of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy development has left ground water and sediment at dozens of sites across the United States and many more around the world contaminated with uranium.

    The uranium is transported through ground water as uranyl (U6+). In one bioremediation strategy, uranium immobilization in contaminated ground water and sediment may be achieved by the addition of organic molecules known as electron donors to stimulate microbial activity. The microbial community utilizes the electron donors as ‘food’, consuming all of the available oxygen during aerobic respiration. Once the ground water becomes anaerobic, U6+ may be converted to U4+ as UO2, a solid mineral, sequestering the uranium within the sediment. Researchers have been investigating the effectiveness of various electron donors, but have been frustrated by residual U6+ which is not converted to insoluble U4+.

    A team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has investigated effectiveness of several electron donors for uranium bioremediation in a study funded by the Department of Energy’s Environmental Remediation Sciences Program. Madden et al. report that the particular electron donor chosen affects not only the rate of uranium removal from solution, but also the extent of U6+ conversion to U4+. Results of the study were published in the January-February issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

    Microcosm experiments containing uranium-contaminated sediment and ground water demonstrated equivalent rapid uranium reduction when amended with ethanol or glucose. In contrast, reduction was delayed by several days when microcosms were amended with methanol. Spectroscopic analyses of uranium oxidation state in stimulated microcosm sediment slurries demonstrated almost complete uranium reduction when methanol was the donor, as compared with less than half reduced using ethanol or glucose. However, addition of methanol did not always result in uranium reduction. These results suggest that the use of donors such as methanol which are not as readily and rapidly coupled to microbial metal reduction may lead to increased stability of the subsurface towards uranium immobilization.

    Research is ongoing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to investigate the effectiveness of various electron donors for long-term uranium immobilization. Further research is needed to understand the coupling between the microbial community and the biogeochemical processes that occur to immobilize the uranium. While previous research has focused on individual groups of bacteria which most efficiently reduce uranium, these results suggest the need for understanding the microbial community system.

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    Bacteria Aid In Clean-Up Of Uranium Contamination

    source: Bacteria Aid In Clean-Up Of Uranium Contamination

    ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2006) — In research that could help control contamination from the radioactive element uranium, scientists have discovered that some bacteria found in the soil and subsurface can release phosphate that converts uranium contamination into an insoluble and immobile form.

    Based on laboratory studies, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers report promising results using bacterial species from three genera isolated from subsurface soils collected at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Field Research Center site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Researchers conducted preliminary screenings of many bacterial isolates and found several candidate strains that released inorganic phosphate after hydrolyzing an organo-phosphate source the researchers provided.

    The bioremediation research project, funded for three years by DOE's Environmental Remediation Sciences Division, is in its early stages. Research team member Melanie Beazley, a Ph.D. student in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, will present preliminary findings on March 30 at the 231st American Chemical Society National Meeting in Atlanta.

    "These organisms release phosphate into the medium, but the precipitation (of uranium phosphate) occurs chemically," explained Assistant Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Martial Taillefert, co-director of the study. "That is the biomineralization of uranium and the novelty of this approach."

    The process begins when the bacteria -- from the genera Rhanella, Bacillus and possibly Arthrobacter -- degrade an organo-phosphate compound such as glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) or phytic acid (IP6), which can be present in subsurface soils.

    "During their growth, the organisms liberate phosphate they derive from the organo-phosphate compound," said project co-director Patricia Sobecky, an associate professor of biology. "The free phosphate is released to the surrounding media, which is a solution in the lab. Then we conduct assays to see how much uranium is mineralized by the phosphate released by the bacteria." The bacteria's role is crucial in this process because uranium cannot dissociate the organo-phosphate compound chemically, Taillefert explained. So uranium in the presence of organo-phosphate alone does not result in significant uranium precipitation.

    Sobecky and her Ph.D. student Robert Martinez are conducting the microbiological and physiological component of the research, while Taillefert and Beazley study the uranium chemistry and analyze distribution of different forms of uranium during incubation in the lab.

    "The devil's in the details with the chemistry of uranium: There are numerous forms of uranium in the environment, which are all influenced by the natural properties of soils and groundwater," Taillefert said.

    Sobecky added, "What we're doing now is optimizing the assay conditions and the techniques to analyze the distribution of uranium species in the lab."

    Traditionally, DOE has funded research investigating the chemical reduction of uranium contamination. But there are two approaches to immobilizing uranium. One strategy reduces uranium (VI) to uranium (IV), which is, in principle, immobile. But the uranium can re-oxidize even with traces of oxygen from rainwater seeping into the groundwater. The Georgia Tech approach biomineralizes uranium (VI) into an insoluble form of uranium via phosphate precipitation.

    As they work toward a bioremediation strategy that will work in the field, researchers must design a mechanism to deal with competing organisms in the soil that might sequester the free phosphate, Sobecky noted. Though their current grant does not cover the cost of a field study, researchers hope to obtain funds in the future to test their strategy at Oak Ridge and potentially other DOE sites. Uranium contamination is a concern at DOE sites because it can migrate to groundwater in surrounding areas, Taillefert noted.

    "At this point, we know the organisms we're studying are active in precipitating uranium phosphate," he said. "Now we need to determine how chemically stable it is."

    Researchers also have learned that when the bacteria are releasing phosphate from G3P, the bacteria can tolerate the toxic uranium and can continue to grow once the uranium is precipitated by the released phosphate.

    "Our challenge now is fine-tuning the conditions around the bacterium so eventually it can thrive and work chemically in a natural setting," Taillefert said.

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