A synergetic biomineralization strategy for immobilizing strontium during calcification of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi
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The coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi has one of the most global distributions in the modern oceans. They are characteristically covered with calcite scales called coccoliths. In this study, stable strontium immobilization during the calcification process was investigated to indirectly assess a proposed bioremediation approach for removing Sr2+ contamination from marine environments. Results indicate that E. huxleyi has high Sr2+ tolerance and removal efficiency in response to Sr2+ stress ranging from 5.6 to 105.6 ppm. Sr2+ immobilization during E. huxleyi calcification indicates a concentration-dependent synergistic mechanism. At lower concentrations of Sr2+ (25.6 ppm), Sr2+ is incorporated into coccoliths through competitive supply between Sr2+ and Ca2+. In addition, calcite productivity decreases with increased Sr2+ removal efficiency due to crystallographic transformation of coccoliths from hydrated calcite into aragonite at 55.6 ppm Sr2+. Further formation of strontianite at 105.6 ppm Sr2+ is due to precipitation of Sr2+ on the edge of the rims and radial arrays of the coccoliths. Our study implies that coccolithophores are capable of significant removal of Sr2+ from the marine environment.
KeywordsCalcification Coccolithophores Biological purification Strontium immobilization Biomineralization
The present work was partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41472310, 41502316), National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program: 2014CB846003), and The Longshan Academic Talent Research Support Program of the Southwest University of Science and Technology (17LZX419, 17LZXT05). We thanks Mr. Biaobiao Ma for helping revise the manuscript.
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