Lygia Eleftheriou - Research Student

Room: LG52, Kroto Research Institute
Telephone: +44 (0)114 22 25785


Research Group: Cell-Mineral Research Centre

Research Project: Study of macromolecule-mineral interactions on nuclear related materials

There has been an increasing interest in bacterial interactions during the last few years, as bacteria were surprisingly found to survive under extreme environments. One such example would be major uranium sites where bacteria were found to grow, using mechanisms that can reduce the concentration of radioactive species. This project focuses on biomineralization as one such mechanism and specifically, the reduction of U(VI) to U(IV) which is observed when Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and members of the Mycolata family come into contact with soluble uranium species. The products of this reaction were found to stay located at the outer sites of the bacterial cells but no work has yet been carried to reveal the actual bacterial components responsible for the observed localization. The major aim of this project is to identify that component or components due to which the insoluble minerals are kept inside the bacterial cell and also, to measure the strength of the interaction between the bacterial components and the biomineral formed. Experimental and computational work will be carried out to find and mimic those bacterial-mineral interactions which will finally be used to produce a strategy for removal of radioactive species from the environment.