Microbially Induced Iron Precipitation Associated with a Neutrophilic Spring at Borra Caves, Vishakhapatnam, India


Material Information

Microbially Induced Iron Precipitation Associated with a Neutrophilic Spring at Borra Caves, Vishakhapatnam, India
Series Title:
Baskar, Sushmitha
Baskar, Ramanathan
Thorseth, Ingunn H.
Øvreås, Lise
Pedersen, Rolf B.
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Biogenic Iron ( local )
Geomicrobiology ( local )
Caves ( local )
Biofilms ( local )
Microbial Mats ( local )
Biogeochemistry ( local )
Astrobiology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


The present investigation uncovers various pieces of evidence for the possible biologically induced mineralization in iron mats associated with a pH-neutral spring in the Borra caves, Vishakhapatnam, India. Electron microscopy [scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM)] demonstrated large numbers of (i) hollow tubes (diameter ∼1 μm) resembling sheaths of the iron-oxidizing bacteria Leptothrix, (ii) thin (diameter <<1 μm) solid fibers of uncertain origin, (iii) nanoscale subspherical to irregularly shaped particles encrusting tubes and fibers, and (iv) aggregates of broken and partially disintegrated sheaths, fibers, and particles embedded in extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) occasionally including microbial cells. X-ray microanalyses by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) revealed that the mat accumulated largely Fe but also smaller amounts of Si and traces of P and Ca. Particles rich in Si and Al (possibly kaolinite) and Ca (carbonate) were also observed. High-resolution TEM/EDS of unstained ultrathin sections suggests that microbial sheaths were highly mineralized by amorphous to cryptocrystalline Fe-rich phases and less frequently by other fine-grained and fibrous authigenic claylike minerals. Total number of microorganisms in the iron mats was 5.8×105 cells, g sed−1 (wet weight). Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene diversity revealed microorganisms assigned to eight different phyla [Proteobacteria (62%), Chloroflexi (8%), Bacteroidetes (7%), Planctomycetes (1%), Actinobacteria (5%), Acidobacteria (6%), Nitrospira (1%), Firmicutes (5%)]. Within the Proteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria was the predominant class, which accounted for 28% of the sequences. Within this class some obvious similarities between the obtained sequences and sequences from other cave systems could be seen, especially sequences affiliated with Leptothrix, Siderooxidans, Crenothrix, Comamonadaceae, Dechloromonas, and many uncultured Betaproteobacteria. Four (4%) of the sequences could not be assigned to p
Original Version:
Astrobiology, Vol. 12, no. 4 (2012-04-20).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

USFLDC Membership

University of South Florida
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



Download Options


No images or PDF downloads are available for this resource.

Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.