Biogenic uraninite is of interest to geoscientists for its importance to bioremediation strategies, remarkably small particle size, and biological origin. Recent studies have begun to illuminate the chemical/structural complexities of this important natural nanomaterial. Intriguingly, in spite of its incredibly diminutive size, the molecular-scale structure, energetics, and surface-area-normalized dissolution rates of hydrated biogenic uraninite appear to be similar to those of coarser-particle, abiotic, stoichiometric UO2. These findings have important implications for the role of size as a moderator of nanoparticle aqueous reactivity and for the bioremediation of subsurface U(VI) contamination.

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