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An Analogue study for heavy metal adsorption onto biofilm in the deep subsurface environment of the Horonobe area, Hokkaido, Japan

Amano, Yuki; Ise, Kotaro; Ito, Tsuyoshi; Nemoto, Kazuaki; Tachi, Yukio

We characterized the geochemical and microbial structures of biofilm samples formed with groundwater from boreholes in the subsurface environment at Horonobe area, Japan. The biofilm samples were grown naturally into the sampling tubes made by nylon under in-situ geochemical conditions. The heavy metal sorption capacities of these biofilms were also determined to evaluate the effects of microorganims on radionuclides transport in HLW systems. From the results of heavy metal analyses, it is revealed that high content of elements was accumulated in the biofilms, and each elements was not accumulated in quantity in the same proportion and had different sorption properties. We could find no discernible correlation between those elements accumulated in the biofilms and the composition of groundwaters. It is assumed that these differences depend on the microbial community structure that composed of biofilms. That is to say, it is possible that microorganims that compose the biofilms selectively accumulate heavy metals according to their metabolic activity. Analyses of 16S rDNA utilizing next generation sequencing indicates that the biofilms were dominated by the phylum Nitrospirae, Proteobacteria, and JS1 and SM1 as Candidate phylum. Over 40% of the detected sequences belong to groups of uncultured microorganisms. These results possibly show the similar characteristics of natural biofilms formed on fracture-surfaces in the subsurface environments. Hence, it is necessary to evaluate mechanisms of interaction between heavy metals, microbial community structure and metabolic activities of biofilms.

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