U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 65, No. 17, pp. 2913–2924, 2001


The microbiologic reduction of a 0.2 to 2.0 µm size fraction of an Atlantic coastal plain sediment (Eatontown) was investigated using a dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacterium (Shewanella putrefaciens, strain CN32) to evaluate mineralogic controls on the rate and extent of Fe(III) reduction and the resulting distribution of biogenic Fe(II). Mössbauer spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to show that the sedimentary Fe (III) oxide was Al-substituted goethite (13–17% Al) that existed as 1- to 5-µm aggregates of indistinct morphology. Bioreduction experiments were performed in two buffers [HCO3; 1,4-piperazinediethansulfonic acid (PIPES)] both without and with 2,6-anthraquinone disulfonate (AQDS) as an electron shuttle. The production of biogenic Fe(II) and the distribution of Al (aqueous and sorbed) were followed over time, as was the formation of Fe(II) biominerals and physical/chemical changes to the goethite.

The extent of reduction was comparable in both buffers. The reducibility (rate and extent) was enhanced by AQDS; 9% of dithionite– citrate– bicarbonate (DCB) extractable Fe (III) was reduced without AQDS whereas 15% was reduced in the presence of AQDS. XRD and Mössbauer spectroscopy were used to monitor the disposition of biogenic Fe (II) and changes to the Al-goethite. Fe (II) biomineralization was not evident by XRD. Biomineralization was observed by Mössbauer when sorbed Fe(II) concentrations exceeded a threshold value. The biomineralization products displayed Mössbauer spectra consistent with siderite FeCO3 (HCO3- buffer only) and green rust [Fe II (6-x) Fe IIIx(OH)12]x+[(A2-)x/2.yH2O]x-. Adsorption of biogenic Fe (II) to accessory mineral phases (e.g., kaolinite) and bacterial surfaces appeared to limit biomineralization. Al evolved during reduction was sorbed, and extractable Al increased with reduction. XRD analysis indicated that neither crystallite size or the Al content of the goethite was affected by bacterial reduction, i.e., Al release was congruent with Fe (II).