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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 54:291-303 (2009)  -  DOI:

Role of microbial populations in the release of reduced iron to the water column from marine aggregates

S. Balzano1,*, P. J. Statham1, R. D. Pancost2, J. R. Lloyd3

1National Oceanography Centre Southampton, Southampton, UK
2Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol, UK
3Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science and School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science, University of Manchester, UK

ABSTRACT: The release of dissolved iron from artificial aggregates formed from oxic natural coastal water and senescent phytoplankton material was demonstrated under dark conditions. The rate of release was controlled by the amount of reducible Fe(III) available, and appears to be limited by the competing oxidation of Fe(II). Molecular (16S rRNA gene) analyses showed the bacterial community associated with the aggregates, originating from estuarine water, to be dominated by oxic heterorophs. However, it was possible to culture NO3 and Fe(III)-reducing bacteria from the artificial aggregates, and marine particles incubated with Fe(III) under anaerobic conditions contained microorganisms belonging to the genera Desulfovibrio and Marinobacter, bacteria known to reduce Fe(III). Whilst the precise mechanism of reduction is not clear, it is evident that marine aggregates can be a source of Fe(II), and thus ultimately iron in other forms, in coastal waters and most probably other natural water systems.

KEY WORDS: Biogeochemistry · Phytoplankton · Marine snow · Iron · Particle-associated bacteria · Anaerobic and microaerobic habitats · Bacterial community composition

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Cite this article as: Balzano S, Statham PJ, Pancost RD, Lloyd JR (2009) Role of microbial populations in the release of reduced iron to the water column from marine aggregates. Aquat Microb Ecol 54:291-303.

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