Frutexites-like structures formed by iron oxidizing biofilms in the continental subsurface (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden)

Christine Marcelle Heim, Nadia Valérie Quéric, Danny Ionescu, Nadine Schäfer, Joachim Reitner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stromatolitic iron-rich structures have been reported from many ancient environments and are often described as Frutexites, a cryptic microfossil. Although microbial formation of such structures is likely, a clear relation to a microbial precursor is lacking so far. Here we report recent iron oxidizing biofilms which resemble the ancient Frutexites structures. The living Frutexites-like biofilms were sampled at 160 m depth in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory in Sweden. Investigations using microscopy, 454 pyrosequencing, FISH, Raman spectroscopy, biomarker and trace element analysis allowed a detailed view of the structural components of the mineralized biofilm. The most abundant bacterial groups were involved in nitrogen and iron cycling. Furthermore, Archaea are widely distributed in the Frutexites-like biofilm, even though their functional role remains unclear. Biomarker analysis revealed abundant sterols in the biofilm most likely from algal and fungal origins. Our results indicate that the Frutexites-like biofilm was built up by a complex microbial community. The functional role of each community member in the formation of the dendritic structures, as well as their potential relation to fossil Frutexites remains under investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0177542
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Fingerprint

Biofilms
Sweden
biofilm
Iron
rocks
Rocks
iron
Biomarkers
biomarkers
Raman spectroscopy
microfossils
Raman Spectrum Analysis
Archaea
Trace Elements
Sterols
sterols
microbial communities
trace elements
Microscopy
microscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Heim, Christine Marcelle ; Quéric, Nadia Valérie ; Ionescu, Danny ; Schäfer, Nadine ; Reitner, Joachim. / Frutexites-like structures formed by iron oxidizing biofilms in the continental subsurface (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden). In: PloS one. 2017 ; Vol. 12, No. 5.
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Frutexites-like structures formed by iron oxidizing biofilms in the continental subsurface (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden). / Heim, Christine Marcelle; Quéric, Nadia Valérie; Ionescu, Danny; Schäfer, Nadine; Reitner, Joachim.

In: PloS one, Vol. 12, No. 5, e0177542, 01.05.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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