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Laboratory experiments on the weathering of iron meteorites and carbonaceous chondrites by iron-oxidizing bacteria

Gronstal, A.; Pearson, V.; Kappler, A.; Dooris, C.; Anand, M.; Poitrasson, F.; Kee, T. P. and Cockell, C. S. (2009). Laboratory experiments on the weathering of iron meteorites and carbonaceous chondrites by iron-oxidizing bacteria. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 44(2) pp. 233–247.

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Batch culture experiments were performed to investigate the weathering of meteoritic material by iron-oxidizing bacteria. The aerobic, acidophilic iron oxidizer (A. ferrooxidans) was capable of oxidizing iron from both carbonaceous chondrites (Murchison and Cold Bokkeveld) and
iron meteorites (York and Casas Grandes). Preliminary iron isotope results clearly show contrasted iron pathways during oxidation with and without bacteria suggesting that a biological role in meteorite weathering could be distinguished isotopically. Anaerobic iron-oxidizers growing under pH-neutral conditions oxidized iron from iron meteorites. These results show that rapid biologically mediated alteration of extraterrestrial materials can occur in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. These results also demonstrate that iron can act as a source of energy for
microorganisms from both iron and carbonaceous chondrites in aerobic and anaerobic conditions with implications for life on the early Earth and the possible use of microorganisms to extract minerals from asteroidal material.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 The Meteoritical Society
ISSN: 1086-9379
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetRoyal Astronomical Society Small Project Grants
Not SetNot SetThe Paneth Trust
Keywords: biological activity; iron oxides; iron isotopes; weathering
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Physical Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 18549
Depositing User: Mahesh Anand
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2009 08:19
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2016 13:02
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