08 Apr 2022
08 Apr 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Do bacterial viruses affect the framboid-like mineral formation?

Paweł Działak1, Marcin Daniel Syczewski2, Kamil Kornaus3, Mirosław Słowakiewicz2, Łukasz Zych3, and Andrzej Borkowski1 Paweł Działak et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, AGH University of Science and Technology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
  • 2Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 93, 02-089 Warsaw, Poland
  • 3Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

Abstract. Framboidal pyrite has been a matter of interest of many studies due to its abundance in a wide range of environments, and as a marker of redox conditions. However, the clear origin of framboidal pyrite remains unresolved. The paper discusses the possible role of bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) in the precipitation of sulphide minerals (FeS and CuS) and their impact on the formation of framboid-like structures. Here, two bacteriophages (Enterobacteria phage P1 and Pseudomonas phage Φ6), which differ significantly in the shape and physicochemical properties, were used. Our observations suggest that viruses can attract ions from the solution and thus change the electrochemical properties of precipitated minerals. Moreover, we showed that bacteriophages P1 can lead to the formation of finer mineral particles of FeS and CuS, whereas the framboid-like structures were found only in experiments with precipitation of FeS. However, Pseudomonas phage Φ6 did not cause formation of similar structures probably due to the presence of lipid envelope. Hence, it is assumed that Enterobacteria phage P1 can promote the formation of the FeS-based framboid-like structures. The proposed four-step conceptualized mechanism of the framboidal-like structure synthesis via viruses is as follows: (i) attraction of ions by capsids, (ii) bacteriophages behave like nuclei for mineral crystallisation, (iii) destabilisation of the colloid (ζ-potential ~ 0), (iv) formation of fine agglomerates.

Paweł Działak et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-89', Rick Wilkin, 17 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Paweł Działak, 08 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-89', Anonymous Referee #2, 04 May 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Paweł Działak, 08 Jun 2022

Paweł Działak et al.

Paweł Działak et al.


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Short summary
Bacteriophages are one of the factors that may influence mineralization processes. The number of bacteriophages in the environment usually exceeds the number of bacteria by an order of magnitude. One of the more interesting processes is the formation of framboidal pyrite, and it is not entirely clear what processes determine its formation. Our studies indicate that some bacterial viruses can influence the formation of framboid-like structures.