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Weathering-associated bacteria from the Damma glacier forefield: Physiological capabilities and impact on granite dissolution


Frey, Beat; Rieder, S R; Brunner, I; Plötze, M; Koetzsch, S; Lapanje, A; Brandl, H; Furrer, G (2010). Weathering-associated bacteria from the Damma glacier forefield: Physiological capabilities and impact on granite dissolution. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76(14):4788-4796.

Abstract

Several bacterial strains isolated from granitic rock material in front of the Damma glacier (Central Swiss Alps) were shown (i) to grow in the presence of granite powder and a glucose-NH4Cl minimal medium without additional macro- or micronutrients and (ii) to produce weathering-associated agents. In particular, four bacterial isolates (one isolate each of Arthrobacter sp., Janthinobacterium sp., Leifsonia sp., and Polaromonas sp.) were weathering associated. In comparison to what was observed in abiotic experiments, the presence of these strains caused a significant increase of granite dissolution (as measured by the release of Fe, Ca, K, Mg, and Mn). These most promising weathering-associated bacterial species exhibited four main features rendering them more efficient in mineral dissolution than the other investigated isolates: (i) a major part of their bacterial cells was attached to the granite surfaces and not suspended in solution, (ii) they secreted the largest amounts of oxalic acid, (iii) they lowered the pH of the solution, and (iv) they formed significant amounts of HCN. As far as we know, this is the first report showing that the combined action of oxalic acid and HCN appears to be associated with enhanced elemental release from granite, in particular of Fe. This suggests that extensive microbial colonization of the granite surfaces could play a crucial role in the initial soil formation in previously glaciated mountain areas.

Several bacterial strains isolated from granitic rock material in front of the Damma glacier (Central Swiss Alps) were shown (i) to grow in the presence of granite powder and a glucose-NH4Cl minimal medium without additional macro- or micronutrients and (ii) to produce weathering-associated agents. In particular, four bacterial isolates (one isolate each of Arthrobacter sp., Janthinobacterium sp., Leifsonia sp., and Polaromonas sp.) were weathering associated. In comparison to what was observed in abiotic experiments, the presence of these strains caused a significant increase of granite dissolution (as measured by the release of Fe, Ca, K, Mg, and Mn). These most promising weathering-associated bacterial species exhibited four main features rendering them more efficient in mineral dissolution than the other investigated isolates: (i) a major part of their bacterial cells was attached to the granite surfaces and not suspended in solution, (ii) they secreted the largest amounts of oxalic acid, (iii) they lowered the pH of the solution, and (iv) they formed significant amounts of HCN. As far as we know, this is the first report showing that the combined action of oxalic acid and HCN appears to be associated with enhanced elemental release from granite, in particular of Fe. This suggests that extensive microbial colonization of the granite surfaces could play a crucial role in the initial soil formation in previously glaciated mountain areas.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:08 Feb 2011 13:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:34
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN:0099-2240
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1128/AEM.00657-10
PubMed ID:20525872

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