Bacterial dissolution of fluorapatite as a possible source of elevated dissolved phosphate in the environment

Feng, M., Ngwenya, B.T., Wang, L., Li, W., Olive, V. and Ellam, R.E. (2011) Bacterial dissolution of fluorapatite as a possible source of elevated dissolved phosphate in the environment. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(19), pp. 5785-5796. (doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2011.07.019)

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In order to understand the contribution of geogenic phosphorus to lake eutrophication, we have investigated the rate and extent of fluorapatite dissolution in the presence of two common soil bacteria (Pantoea agglomerans and Bacillus megaterium) at T = 25 °C for 26 days. The release of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), and rare earth elements (REE) under biotic and abiotic conditions was compared to investigate the effect of microorganism on apatite dissolution. The release of Ca and P was enhanced under the influence of bacteria. Apatite dissolution rates obtained from solution Ca concentration in the biotic reactors increased above error compared with abiotic controls. Chemical analysis of biomass showed that bacteria scavenged Ca, P, and REE during their growth, which lowered their fluid concentrations, leading to apparent lower release rates. The temporal evolution of pH in the reactors reflected the balance of apatite weathering, solution reactions, bacterial metabolism, and potentially secondary precipitation, which was implied in the variety of REE patterns in the biotic and abiotic reactors. Light rare earth elements (LREE) were preferentially adsorbed to cell surfaces, whereas heavy rare earth elements (HREE) were retained in the fluid phase. Decoupling of LREE and HREE could possibly be due to preferential release of HREE from apatite or selective secondary precipitation of LREE enriched phosphates, especially in the presence of bacteria. When corrected for intracellular concentrations, both biotic reactors showed high P and REE release compared with the abiotic control. We speculate that lack of this correction explains the conflicting findings about the role of bacteria in mineral weathering rates. The observation that bacteria enhance the release rate of P and REE from apatite could account for some of the phosphorus burden and metal pollution in aquatic environments.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellam, Professor Rob and Olive, Dr Valerie
Authors: Feng, M., Ngwenya, B.T., Wang, L., Li, W., Olive, V., and Ellam, R.E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Published Online:23 July 2011
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75(19):5785-5796
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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