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Energy and Environment Directorate

Research Capabilities

PCR Arrays for Quantitative Evaluation of Microbial Communities

Methods and data needed to enable quantitative field-scale measurement and modeling capabilities of subsurface microbial communities in the Hanford Area will be generated.

This project will characterize changes occurring in subsurface microbial communities of the Hanford Site during the course of remediation treatments. Current remediation strategies in the Hanford 100N and 300 Areas are based upon the injection of phosphate-bearing media to promote the immobilization of strontium (100N Area) and uranium (300 Area) contaminating the groundwater. Although subsurface microorganisms are expected to have potentially strong impacts on these processes, the extent to which subsurface microbial activity can modulate contaminant transport and complexation is poorly understood. Existing methods and data only measure what species are present in the subsurface and the total biomass available in a given sample (typically well water).

The tools and data from this project will enable pre- and post-treatment monitoring to: 1) enumerate individual species, 2) characterize the transport and migration of both in situ and injected populations, 3) identify the populations (subsurface and injected) that respond and contribute to treatments, and 4) directly assess how representative well water is of in situ microbial communities.

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas