Mining Uranium: Coca Cola® makes U accessible

Coca Cola® may not be much use as a contraceptive, but it may well be effective in assessing the environmental impact of bioaccessible Uranium (U). Particularly contamination around mines, nuclear reprocessing plants and waste disposal facilities. Authors Bernd Lottermoser, Ewald Schnug and Silvia Haneklaus explain the concept in the 2011 book The New Uranium Mining Boom (just $279.00, direct from the publisher)
The team tested Coca Cola Classic®, Diet Coke® and Coke Zero® in a number of experimental scenarios as an alternative to traditional (and sometimes pricey) assay reagents such as EDTA, DTPA and Ca02. The Diet Coke® worked especially well, outperforming both DTPA and CaO2 – and thus, say the authors, it :

“… provides an excellent indication of bioaccessible U in contaminated mine soils.”

They also provide a speculative reason for its effectiveness, explaining that it’s :

“… possibly due to the presence of artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium, aspartame) benzoate and citrate.”

Extracts (of the book) available here