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The catalytic role of planktonic aerobic heterotrophic bacteria in protodolomite formation: Results from Lake Jibuhulangtu Nuur, Inner Mongolia, China

Liu, D; Yu, N; Papineau, D; Fan, Q; Wang, H; Qiu, X; She, Z; (2019) The catalytic role of planktonic aerobic heterotrophic bacteria in protodolomite formation: Results from Lake Jibuhulangtu Nuur, Inner Mongolia, China. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta , 263 pp. 31-49. 10.1016/j.gca.2019.07.056. Green open access

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Abstract

Dolomite nucleation and subsequent crystallization are kinetically-controlled processes. Modern dolomite-forming environments provide clues to the trigger factors that facilitate dolomite formation under Earth surface conditions. It has been documented that certain types of benthic microorganisms promoted the precipitation of protodolomite from sediment pore waters. As protodolomite is thought to be a possible precursor of sedimentary ordered dolomite, microbial mediation has thus been suggested as one interpretation of the occurrence of dolomite in modern sediments. To date, however, it is still unclear whether planktonic microorganisms could directly initiate protodolomite crystallization in the upper water column of present dolomite depositing environments. In this study, we report on the occurrence of authigenic protodolomite in the upmost sediments of a high-sulfate, Chinese inland saline lake (Lake Jibuhulangtu Nuur). This lake was therefore considered to be a natural laboratory to test the catalytic effect of planktonic aerobic heterotrophic bacteria on protodolomite formation. Laboratory mineralization experiments were conducted in a liquid medium that mimicked the ion concentrations and pH condition of lake surface water. The incubation experiments showed that aragonite formed in the abiotic systems, while protodolomite predominantly occurred in the bioreactors using either an enrichment culture or pure isolates of aerobic heterotrophic and halophilic bacteria from lake water. The resulting microbially-induced protodolomite crystals displayed spherical morphology and had MgCO3 composition ranging from 42.7 mol% to 47.1 mol%. These protodolomite spherulites were formed by aggregation of randomly-distributed nano-crystals. Compared to synthetic abiotic protodolomite, microbially-induced protodolomite contained considerable amounts of organic matter, which might occur as intracrystalline inclusion or was located between nano-crystals of protodolomite spherulite. Our results support the emerging view that dissolved sulfate is not an inhibitor for the formation of low-temperature (proto-)dolomite. The presence of organic matter intimately associated with dolomite crystals may serve as a hallmark indicative of a biotically induced origin for some types of dolomite.

Type: Article
Title: The catalytic role of planktonic aerobic heterotrophic bacteria in protodolomite formation: Results from Lake Jibuhulangtu Nuur, Inner Mongolia, China
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2019.07.056
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.07.056
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Dolomite problem, Protodolomite, Aerobic heterotrophic bacteria, Catalytic effect, Biosignature
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080438
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