Articles | Volume 20, issue 19
Research article
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12 Oct 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 12 Oct 2023

Biomineralization of amorphous Fe-, Mn- and Si-rich mineral phases by cyanobacteria under oxic and alkaline conditions

Karim Benzerara, Agnès Elmaleh, Maria Ciobanu, Alexis De Wever, Paola Bertolino, Miguel Iniesto, Didier Jézéquel, Purificación López-García, Nicolas Menguy, Elodie Muller, Fériel Skouri-Panet, Sufal Swaraj, Rosaluz Tavera, Christophe Thomazo, and David Moreira


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This study documents the formation of Fe, Mn and Si amorphous mineral phases by very small cyanobacteria living in oxic, alkaline lakes. This finding has implications for using sedimentary Fe/Mn enrichments as a proxy for redox cycling in the past and extends the documented evidence for biomineralization of Si-rich phases.
Short summary
Iron and manganese are poorly soluble in oxic and alkaline solutions but much more soluble under anoxic conditions. As a result, authigenic minerals rich in Fe and/or Mn have been viewed as diagnostic of anoxic conditions. However, here we reveal a new case of biomineralization by specific cyanobacteria, forming abundant Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-rich amorphous phases under oxic conditions in an alkaline lake. This might be an overlooked biotic contribution to the scavenging of Fe from water columns.
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