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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Aaron Gronstal
  • Victoria Pearson
  • Andreas Kappler
  • Craig Dooris
  • Mahesh Anand
  • Franck Poitrasson
  • Terence P. Kee
  • Charles S. Cockell

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-247
Number of pages15
JournalMeteoritics & planetary science
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Abstract

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.

    Research areas

  • SULFATE-REDUCING BACTERIA, ISOTOPE FRACTIONATION, ANTARCTIC METEORITES, EXTRATERRESTRIAL MATERIALS, THIOBACILLUS-FERROOXIDANS, ACIDOPHILIC BACTERIA, CATHODIC HYDROGEN, STONY METEORITES, TERRESTRIAL AGES, FERROUS IRON

ID: 1498386