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Electrogenic sulfur oxidation by cable bacteria in bivalve reef sediments
Malkin, S.Y.; Seitaj, D.; Burdorf, L.D.W.; Nieuwhof, S.; Hidalgo-Martinez, S.; Tramper, A.; Geeraert, N.; De Stigter, H.; Meysman, F.J.R. (2017). Electrogenic sulfur oxidation by cable bacteria in bivalve reef sediments. Front. Mar. Sci. 4: 28.
In: Frontiers in Marine Science. Frontiers Media: Lausanne. ISSN 2296-7745, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Bivalvia [WoRMS]; Desulfobulbaceae [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    bivalves, cable bacteria, electrochemistry, electrogenic sulfur oxidation, long-distance electron transport, sediment biogeochemistry, Desulfobulbaceae

Authors  Top 
  • Malkin, S.Y., more
  • Seitaj, D.
  • Burdorf, L.D.W., more
  • Nieuwhof, S., more
  • Hidalgo-Martinez, S., more
  • Tramper, A., more
  • Geeraert, N.
  • de Stigter, H., more
  • Meysman, F.J.R., more

    Cable bacteria induce long-distance electron transport in the seafloor and can exert a powerful control on the elemental cycling in marine sediments by creating extreme excursions in porewater pH. Yet, the natural distribution of cable bacteria is still largely unknown, and so their role in coastal biogeochemical cycling remains poorly quantified. Here we show that cable bacteria can be abundant in the sediments of intertidal bivalve reefs, where they strongly influence the pore water geochemistry, resulting in a potentially beneficial interaction between the sulfur oxidizing microbes and biodepositing fauna. Cable bacteria occurred in sediments accumulating within mussel and oyster reefs in the Wadden Sea (The Netherlands), at cumulative filament densities up to 1038 m cm−2. Additionally, cable bacteria were found at moderately high cumulative filament densities (up to 56 m cm−2) in a heavily bioturbated sandy sediment adjacent to the muddy reefs. Microsensor profiling revealed strong sulfide removal and intense acid generation associated with the electrogenic sulfide oxidation metabolism of the cable bacteria. Strongly elevated concentrations of dissolved calcium (up to 35 mM), manganese (up to 250 μM), and iron (up to 700 μM) were observed in the pore waters, consistent with acidity-driven dissolution of calcium carbonates and iron sulfides. This field study provides substantive evidence that cable bacteria exert a decisive control on the cycling of sulfur and carbonate minerals in cohesive coastal sediments, and identifies that the distribution and influence of cable bacteria covers a greater range of natural habitats than previously believed.

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