It has been recently discovered that numerous microalgae species of the genus Tetraselmis (Chlorodendrales) form intracellular carbonates called micropearls. These mineral inclusions are composed of hydrated amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) in which other elements such as strontium can also accumulate. Under both laboratory and natural conditions, the Sr/Ca ratio of the micropearls can be more than 200 times higher than in the growing medium, indicating that these Tetraselmis species have a strong capacity to concentrate strontium.
My research aim is to investigate the potential of these organisms for new bioremediation solutions regarding radioactive 90Sr water pollution. Ongoing experiments with cultures of Tetraselmis under controlled laboratory conditions are providing missing information about the uptake mechanism of this element.
This multidisciplinary project including Biology, Environmental Chemistry and Geology is supported by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung Foundation within the framework of the MICROBIALS initiative that focuses on the direct use of microorganisms and their applications on the environment.
- Environmental conservation
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