U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Geomicrobiology Journal, 19:179–207, 2002


Dissimilatory metal reducing bacteria (DMRB) catalyze the reduction of Fe(III) to Fe(II) in anoxic soils, sediments, and groundwater. Two-line ferrihydrite is a bioavailable Fe(III) oxide form that is exploited by DMRB as a terminal electron acceptor. A wide variety of biomineralization products result from the interaction of DMRB with 2-line ferrihydrite. Here we describe the state of knowledge on the biotransformation of synthetic 2-line ferrihydrite by laboratory cultures of DMRB using select published data and new experimental results. A facultative DMRB is emphasized (Shewanella putrefaciens) upon which most of this work has been performed. Key factors controlling the identity of the secondary mineral suite are evaluated including medium composition, electron donor and acceptor concentrations, ferrihydrite aging/recrystallization status, sorbed ions, and co-associated crystalline Fe(III) oxides. It is shown that crystalline ferric (goethite, hematite, lepidocrocite), ferrous (siderite, vivianite), and mixed valence (magnetite, green rust) iron solids are formed in anoxic, circumneutral DMRB incubations. Some products are well rationalized based on thermodynamic considerations, but others appear to result from kinetic pathways driven by ions that inhibit interfacial electron transfer or the precipitation of select phases. The primary factor controlling the nature of the secondary mineral suite appears to be the Fe(II) supply rate and magnitude, and its surface reaction with the residual oxide and other sorbed ions. The common observation of end-product mineral mixtures that are not at global equilibrium indicates that microenvironments surrounding respiring DMRB cells or the reaction-path trajectory (over Eh-pH space) may influence the identity of the final biomineralization suite.