Biological modification of haematite in Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities

Edwards, Howell G.M.; Wynn-Williams, David D.; Jorge Villar, Susanna E.. 2004 Biological modification of haematite in Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities. Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 35 (6). 470-474.

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Detailed FT-Raman spectra of Antarctic cryptoendolithic colonies in Beacon sandstone have revealed some novel information about the biogeological modification process involving iron(III) mobilization by the organism. The previously unreported but characteristic orange-yellow surface colour of endolithic rock specimens is attributed to the presence of goethite, alpha-FeOOH, iron(III) oxide hydroxide, which has been converted from haematite, alpha-Fe2O3, by cyanobacterial modification. Although goethite is also identified in the biological layers, haematite is found unchanged elsewhere in the specimens. No spectroscopic evidence is found for iron(III) complexes of metabolic byproducts such as oxalate or pyruvate. The results are of relevance to remote spectroscopic sensing experiments for Martian planetary surface exploration, where the presence of iron(III) oxide is evident, below which it seems likely that a significant quantity of hydroxyl groups in the form of water could exist.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Antarctic Science in the Global Context (2000-2005) > Life at the Edge - Stresses and Thresholds
ISSN: 0377-0486
Additional Keywords: biogeological modification, Antarctic, cryptoendolith, Mars analogue, iron oxide
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Space Sciences
Date made live: 16 Jan 2012 13:53 +0 (UTC)

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