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Reactivity of Iron Minerals in the Seabed Toward Microbial Reduction – A Comparison of Different Extraction Techniques

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  • Katja Laufer, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR)
  • ,
  • Alexander B. Michaud, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • ,
  • Hans Røy
  • Bo B. Jørgensen

Dissimilatory iron reduction and sulfate reduction are the most important processes for anaerobic mineralization of organic carbon in marine sediments. The thermodynamics and kinetics of microbial Fe(III) reduction depend on the characteristics of the Fe(III) minerals, which influence the potential of Fe(III)-reducers to compete with sulfate-reducers for common organic substrates. In the present study, we tested different methods to quantify and characterize microbially reducible Fe(III) in sediments from a transect in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, using different standard sequential endpoint extractions and time-course extractions with either ascorbate or a Fe(III)-reducing microbial culture. Similar trends of increasing ‘reactive Fe’ content of the sediment along the fjord transect were found using the different extraction methods. However, the total amount of ‘reactive Fe’ extracted differed between the methods, due to different Fe dissolution mechanisms and different targeted Fe fractions. Time-course extractions additionally provided information on the reactivity and heterogeneity of the extracted Fe(III) minerals, which also impact the favorability for microbial reduction. Our results show which fractions of the existing Fe extraction protocols should be considered ‘reactive’ in the sense of being favorable for microbial Fe(III) reduction, which is important in studies on early diagenesis in marine sediments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Pages (from-to)170-189
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Arctic, Fe reduction, iron, sediment, sulfate reduction, Svalbard

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