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Long-distance electron transport occurs globally in marine sediments

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  • Laurine D.W. Burdorf, Utrecht University
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  • Anton Tramper, Utrecht University
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  • Dorina Seitaj, Utrecht University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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  • Lorenz Meire, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
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  • Silvia Hidalgo-Martinez, Utrecht University
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  • Eva Maria Zetsche, Utrecht University, University of Gothenburg
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  • Henricus T.S. Boschker, Utrecht University
  • ,
  • Filip J.R. Meysman, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research - NIOZ, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Recently, long filamentous bacteria have been reported conducting electrons over centimetre distances in marine sediments. These so-called cable bacteria perform an electrogenic form of sulfur oxidation, whereby long-distance electron transport links sulfide oxidation in deeper sediment horizons to oxygen reduction in the upper millimetres of the sediment. Electrogenic sulfur oxidation exerts a strong impact on the local sediment biogeochemistry, but it is currently unknown how prevalent the process is within the seafloor. Here we provide a state-of-The-Art assessment of its global distribution by combining new field observations with previous reports from the literature. This synthesis demonstrates that electrogenic sulfur oxidation, and hence microbial long-distance electron transport, is a widespread phenomenon in the present-day seafloor. The process is found in coastal sediments within different climate zones (off the Netherlands, Greenland, the USA, Australia) and thrives on a range of different coastal habitats (estuaries, salt marshes, mangroves, coastal hypoxic basins, intertidal flats). The combination of a widespread occurrence and a strong local geochemical imprint suggests that electrogenic sulfur oxidation could be an important, and hitherto overlooked, component of the marine cycle of carbon, sulfur and other elements.

Sider (fra-til)683-701
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 10 feb. 2017

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