79Se is among the most important long lived radionuclides in spent nuclear fuel and selenite, SeO32-, is its typical form in intermediate redox potential. The sorption behaviour of selenite and the bacterial impact on the selenite sorption in a 7-m-deep profile of a nutrient-poor boreal bog was studied using batch sorption experiments. The batch distribution coefficient (Kd) values of selenite decreased as a function of sampling depth and highest Kd values, 6600 L/kg dry weight (DW), were observed in the surface moss and the lowest in the bottom clay at 1700 L/kg DW. The overall maximum sorption was observed at pH between 3 and 4 and the Kd values were significantly higher in unsterilized compared to sterilized samples. The removal of selenite from solution by Pseudomonas sp., Burkholderia sp., Rhodococcus sp. and Paenibacillus sp. strains isolated from the bog was affected by incubation temperature and time. In addition, the incubation of sterilized surface moss, subsurface peat and gyttja samples with added bacteria effectively removed selenite from the solution and on average 65% of selenite was removed when Pseudomonas sp. or Burkholderia sp. strains were used. Our results demonstrate the important role of bacteria for the removal of selenite from the solution phase in the bog environment, having a high organic matter content and a low pH.
- nuclear waste