Crystal-size and shape distributions of magnetite from uncultured magnetotactic bacteria as a potential biomarker

Balázs Arató, Zoltán Szányi, Christine Flies, Dirk Schüler, Richard B. Frankel, Peter R. Buseck, M. Pósfai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied the sizes and shapes of magnetite nanocrystals produced by several types of uncultured magnetotactic bacteria to understand whether their size distributions can be used for identifying the biogenic origin of magnetite crystals in geological samples. The two-dimensional projections of the crystals were measured on transmission electron microscope (TEM) images, and features of crystal-size and shape-factor distributions (CSD and SFD, respectively) were analyzed. In agreement with previous results, most magnetite CSD curves are asymmetric and negatively skewed; however, one magnetotactic strain produced particles that have a normal size distribution. A statistical analysis of CSDs and SFDs (both from this and previous studies) reveals similarities among magnetite from magnetotactic strains from various locations. In particular, crystals in a cultured marine strain (MC-2) were indistinguishable from magnetite from a freshwater strain. We tested whether CSDs of distinct magnetosome types can be recovered from the shape and size data of all particles combined in samples that contain several types of magnetosomes; such samples can be used as models for rocks that contain magnetite nanocrystals of unknown and, presumably, various origins. If the SFDs of the distinct magnetosome types occurring in the same sample differ, the CSDs of individual magnetosome types can be retrieved from bulk data. In such cases the characteristic shape of the size distribution can be used for identifying magnetite as originating from magnetotactic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1233-1241
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Volume90
Issue number8-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

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Ferrosoferric Oxide
biomarkers
Biomarkers
magnetite
bacteria
biomarker
Bacteria
crystal
Crystals
bacterium
crystals
Nanocrystals
nanocrystals
distribution
statistical analysis
Statistical methods
Electron microscopes
electron microscopes
projection
Rocks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics

Cite this

Crystal-size and shape distributions of magnetite from uncultured magnetotactic bacteria as a potential biomarker. / Arató, Balázs; Szányi, Zoltán; Flies, Christine; Schüler, Dirk; Frankel, Richard B.; Buseck, Peter R.; Pósfai, M.

In: American Mineralogist, Vol. 90, No. 8-9, 08.2005, p. 1233-1241.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Arató, Balázs ; Szányi, Zoltán ; Flies, Christine ; Schüler, Dirk ; Frankel, Richard B. ; Buseck, Peter R. ; Pósfai, M. / Crystal-size and shape distributions of magnetite from uncultured magnetotactic bacteria as a potential biomarker. In: American Mineralogist. 2005 ; Vol. 90, No. 8-9. pp. 1233-1241.
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