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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of substrate mineralogy on bacterial mineralization of calcium carbonate: implications for stone conservation.

The influence of mineral substrate composition and structure on bacterial calcium carbonate productivity and polymorph selection was studied. Bacterial calcium carbonate precipitation occurred on calcitic (Iceland spar single crystals, marble, and porous limestone) and silicate (glass coverslips, porous sintered glass, and quartz sandstone) substrates following culturing in liquid medium (M-3P) inoculated with different types of bacteria (Myxococcus xanthus, Brevundimonas diminuta, and a carbonatogenic bacterial community isolated from porous calcarenite stone in a historical building) and direct application of sterile M-3P medium to limestone and sandstone with their own bacterial communities. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), and 2-dimensional XRD (2D-XRD) analyses revealed that abundant highly oriented calcite crystals formed homoepitaxially on the calcitic substrates, irrespective of the bacterial type. Conversely, scattered spheroidal vaterite entombing bacterial cells formed on the silicate substrates. These results show that carbonate phase selection is not strain specific and that under equal culture conditions, the substrate type is the overruling factor for calcium carbonate polymorph selection. Furthermore, carbonate productivity is strongly dependent on the mineralogy of the substrate. Calcitic substrates offer a higher affinity for bacterial attachment than silicate substrates, thereby fostering bacterial growth and metabolic activity, resulting in higher production of calcium carbonate cement. Bacterial calcite grows coherently over the calcitic substrate and is therefore more chemically and mechanically stable than metastable vaterite, which formed incoherently on the silicate substrates. The implications of these results for technological applications of bacterial carbonatogenesis, including building stone conservation, are discussed.[1]


  1. Influence of substrate mineralogy on bacterial mineralization of calcium carbonate: implications for stone conservation. Rodriguez-Navarro, C., Jroundi, F., Schiro, M., Ruiz-Agudo, E., González-Muñoz, M.T. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2012) [Pubmed]
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