Neutrophilic lithotrophic iron-oxidizing prokaryotes and their role in the biogeochemical processes of the iron cycle
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- Dubinina, G.A. & Sorokina, A.Y. Microbiology (2014) 83: 1. doi:10.1134/S0026261714020052
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Biology of lithotrophic neutrophilic iron-oxidizing prokaryotes and their role in the processes of the biogeochemical cycle of iron are discussed. This group of microorganisms is phylogenetically, taxonomically, and physiologically heterogeneous, comprising three metabolically different groups: aerobes, nitratedependent anaerobes, and phototrophs; the latter two groups have been revealed relatively recently. Their taxonomy and metabolism are described. Materials on the structure and functioning of the electron transport chain in the course of Fe(II) oxidation by members of various physiological groups are discussed. Occurrence of iron oxidizers in freshwater and marine ecosystems, thermal springs, areas of hydrothermal activity, and underwater volcanic areas are considered. Molecular genetic techniques were used to determine the structure of iron-oxidizing microbial communities in various natural ecosystems. Analysis of stable isotope fractionation of 56/54Fe in pure cultures and model experiments revealed a predominance of biological oxidation over abiotic ones in shallow aquatic habitats and mineral springs, which was especially pronounced under microaerobic conditions at the redox zone boundary. Discovery of anaerobic bacterial Fe(II) oxidation resulted in development of new hypotheses concerning the possible role of microorganisms and the mechanisms of formation of the major iron ore deposits during Precambrian era until the early Proterozoic epoch. Paleobiological data are presented on the microfossils and specific biomarkers retrieved from ancient ore samples and confirming involvement of anaerobic biogenic processes in their formation.