Mesophilic mineral-weathering bacteria inhabit the critical-zone of a perennially cold basaltic environment

Summers, Stephen; Thomson, Bruce C.; Whiteley, Andrew S.; Cockell, Charles S.. 2016 Mesophilic mineral-weathering bacteria inhabit the critical-zone of a perennially cold basaltic environment. Geomicrobiology Journal, 33 (1). 52-62.

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The weathering of silicate in the world's critical-zone (rock-soil interface) is a natural mechanism providing a feedback on atmospheric CO2 concentrations through the carbonate-silicate cycle. We examined culturable bacterial communities from a critical-zone in western Iceland to determine the optimum growth temperature, ability to solubilise phosphate-containing minerals, which are abundant within the critical-zone area examined here. The majority of isolated bacteria were able to solubilize mineral-state phosphate. Almost all bacterial isolates were mesophilic (growth optima of 20–45°C), despite critical-zone temperatures that were continuously below 15°C, although all isolates could grow at temperatures associated with the critical-zone (−2.8 – 13.1°C). Only three isolates were shown to have thermal optima for growth that were within temperatures experienced at the critical-zone. These findings show that the bacteria that inhabit the western Icelandic critical-zone have temperature growth optima suboptimally adapted to their environment, implying that other adaptations may be more important for their long-term persistance in this environment. Moreover, our study showed that the cold basaltic critical-zone is a region of active phosphate mineral-weathering.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISSN: 0149-0451
Additional Keywords: critical-zone, weathering, bacteria, MPS, soil microbiology
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 31 Jul 2015 10:35 +0 (UTC)

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