Formation of iron-rich shelled structures by microbial communities

David C. Fernández-Remolar, Joan Santamaría, Ricardo Amils, Victor Parro, D. Gõmez-Ortíz, Matthew R.M. Izawa, Neil R. Banerjee, Raúl Pérez Rodríguez, Nuria Rodríguez, Nieves Lõpez-Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we describe the discovery and characterization of shelled structures that occur inside galleries of Pyrenees mines. The structures are formed by the mineralization of iron and zinc oxides, dominantly franklinite (ZnFe2O4) and poorly ordered goethite (α-FeO(OH)). Subsurface oxidation and hydration of polymetallic sulfide orebodies produce solutions rich in dissolved metal cations including Fe2+/3+ and Zn2+. The microbially precipitated shell-like structure grows by lateral or vertical stacking of thin laminae of iron oxide particles which are accreted mostly by fungal filaments. The resulting structures are composed of randomly oriented aggregates of needle-like, uniform-sized crystals, suggesting some biological control in the structure formation. Such structures are formed by the integration of two separated shells, following a complex process driven likely by different strategies of fungal microorganisms that produced the complex macrostructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-168
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 28 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • geobiology
  • iron oxides
  • microbial mineralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Forestry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Palaeontology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Formation of iron-rich shelled structures by microbial communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this