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Volume 2013, Article ID 102972, 8 pages
Research Article

Deposition of Biogenic Iron Minerals in a Methane Oxidizing Microbial Mat

1Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August-University, Grisebachstr. 8, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2Hannover Medical School, Institute of Functional and Applied Anatomy, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany
3Courant Centre Geobiology, Georg-August-University, Goldschmidtstr. 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
4Geoscience Centre Göttingen, Georg-August-University, Goldschmidtstr. 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
5Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Stilleweg 2, 30655 Hannover, Germany

Received 18 September 2012; Revised 13 April 2013; Accepted 20 April 2013

Academic Editor: Charles Cockell

Copyright © 2013 Christoph Wrede et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The syntrophic community between anaerobic methanotrophic archaea and sulfate reducing bacteria forms thick, black layers within multi-layered microbial mats in chimney-like carbonate concretions of methane seeps located in the Black Sea Crimean shelf. The microbial consortium conducts anaerobic oxidation of methane, which leads to the formation of mainly two biomineral by-products, calcium carbonates and iron sulfides, building up these chimneys. Iron sulfides are generated by the microbial reduction of oxidized sulfur compounds in the microbial mats. Here we show that sulfate reducing bacteria deposit biogenic iron sulfides extra- and intracellularly, the latter in magnetosome-like chains. These chains appear to be stable after cell lysis and tend to attach to cell debris within the microbial mat. The particles may be important nuclei for larger iron sulfide mineral aggregates.