Biological and chemical sulfide oxidation in a Beggiatoa inhabited marine sediment.

Preisler, André, de Beer, Dirk, Lichtschlag, Anna, Lavik, Gaute, Boetius, Antje and Jørgensen, Bo Barker (2007) Biological and chemical sulfide oxidation in a Beggiatoa inhabited marine sediment. Open Access The ISME Journal, 1 (4). pp. 341-353. DOI 10.1038/ismej.2007.50.

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The ecological niche of nitrate-storing Beggiatoa, and their contribution to the removal of sulfide were investigated in coastal sediment. With microsensors a clear suboxic zone of 2-10cm thick was identified, where neither oxygen nor free sulfide was detectable. In this zone most of the Beggiatoa were found, where they oxidize sulfide with internally stored nitrate. The sulfide input into the suboxic zone was dominated by an upward sulfide flux from deeper sediment, whereas the local production in the suboxic zone was much smaller. Despite their abundance, the calculated sulfide-oxidizing capacity of the Beggiatoa could account for only a small fraction of the total sulfide removal in the sediment. Consequently, most of the sulfide flux into the suboxic layer must have been removed by chemical processes, mainly by precipitation with Fe2+ and oxidation by Fe(III), which was coupled with a pH increase. The free Fe2+ diffusing upwards was oxidized by Mn(IV), resulting in a strong pH decrease. The nitrate storage capacity allows Beggiatoa to migrate randomly up and down in anoxic sediments with an accumulated gliding distance of 4m before running out of nitrate. We propose that the steep sulfide gradient and corresponding high sulfide flux, a typical characteristic of Beggiatoa habitats, is not needed for their metabolic performance, but rather used as a chemotactic cue by the highly motile filaments to avoid getting lost at depth in the sediment. Indeed sulfide is a repellant for Beggiatoa.

Document Type: Article
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2013 10:27
Last Modified: 25 May 2016 10:01

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