Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Iron Reduction

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5402-1



Dissimilatory iron reduction


Dissimilatory iron reducing microorganisms


Dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) is a form of anaerobic (without oxygen) microbial respiration whereby energy is generated by coupling the oxidation (removal of electrons) of organic matter (chemoorganotrophy) or H2 (chemolithotrophy) to the reduction (addition of electrons) of ferric iron [Fe(III)]. DIR can by generalized by the following equations, where “CH2O” represents a single unit of organic carbon, and Fe(OH)3 represents an iron oxide mineral phase:

Chemoorganotrophic Fe(III) reduction:
$$ {\mathrm{CH}}_2\mathrm{O}+4\mathrm{Fe}{\left(\mathrm{OH}\right)}_3+7{\mathrm{H}}^{+}\to 4{\mathrm{Fe}}^{2+}+{\mathrm{H}\mathrm{CO}}_3^{-}+10{\mathrm{H}}_2\mathrm{O} $$


Electron donor Electron acceptor Iron Reduction 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA