Effects of Fe(III) oxide mineralogy and phosphate on Fe(II) secondary mineral formation during microbial iron reduction

Edward J. O’loughlin, Maxim I. Boyanov, Christopher A. Gorski, Michelle M. Scherer, Kenneth M. Kemner

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The bioreduction of Fe(III) oxides by dissimilatory iron-reducing bacteria may result in the formation of a suite of Fe(II)-bearing secondary minerals, including magnetite (a mixed Fe(II)/Fe(III) oxide), siderite (Fe(II) carbonate), vivianite (Fe(II) phosphate), chukanovite (ferrous hydroxy carbonate), and green rusts (mixed Fe(II)/Fe(III) hydroxides). In an effort to better understand the factors controlling the formation of specific Fe(II)-bearing secondary minerals, we examined the effects of Fe(III) oxide mineralogy, phosphate concentration, and the availability of an electron shuttle (9,10-anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate, AQDS) on the bioreduction of a series of Fe(III) oxides (akaga-neite, feroxyhyte, ferric green rust, ferrihydrite, goethite, hematite, and lepidocrocite) by Shewanella putrefaciens CN32, and the resulting formation of secondary minerals, as determined by X-ray dif-fraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. The overall extent of Fe(II) production was highly dependent on the type of Fe(III) oxide provided. With the exception of hematite, AQDS enhanced the rate of Fe(II) production; however, the presence of AQDS did not always lead to an increase in the overall extent of Fe(II) production and did not affect the types of Fe(II)-bearing secondary minerals that formed. The effects of the presence of phosphate on the rate and extent of Fe(II) production were variable among the Fe(III) oxides, but in general, the highest loadings of phosphate resulted in decreased rates of Fe(II) production, but ultimately higher levels of Fe(II) than in the absence of phosphate. In addition, phosphate concentration had a pronounced effect on the types of secondary minerals that formed; magnetite and chukanovite formed at phosphate concentrations of ≤1 mM (ferrihydrite), <~100 μM (lepidocrocite), 500 μM (feroxyhyte and ferric green rust), while green rust, or green rust and vivianite, formed at phosphate concentrations of 10 mM (ferrihydrite), ≥100 μM (lepidocrocite), and 5 mM (feroxyhyte and ferric green rust). These results further demonstrate that the bioreduction of Fe(III) oxides, and accompanying Fe(II)-bearing secondary mineral formation, is controlled by a complex interplay of mineralogical, geochemical, and microbiological factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number149
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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