A combination of EXAFS, transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray was used to conduct a molecular and atomic analysis of the uranium complexes formed by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. The results demonstrate that this bacterium accumulates uranium as phosphate compounds. We suggest that at toxic levels when the uranium enters the bacterial cells, A. ferrooxidans can detoxify and efflux this metal by a process in which its polyphosphate bodies are involved.

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