Cover of Geomicrobiology Journal

Susanne Sjoberga, Nolwenn Callacac, Bert Allardb, Rienk H. Smittenberga and Christophe Dupraza

aDepartment of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, SE Stockholm, Sweden; bMan-Technology-Environment Research Centre (MTM), Örebro University, SE Örebro, Sweden; cDepartment of Paleobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden

The dominant initial phase formed during microbially mediated manganese oxidation is a poorly crystalline birnessite-type phyllomanganate. The occurrence of manganese deposits containing this mineral is of interest for increased understanding of microbial involvement in the manganese cycle. A culture independent molecular approach is used as a first step to investigate the role of microorganisms in forming rare earth element enriched birnessite-type manganese oxides, associated with water bearing rock fractures in a tunnel of the Ytterby mine, Sweden. 16S rRNA gene results show that the chemotrophic bacterial communities are diverse and include a high percentage of uncultured unclassified bacteria while archaeal diversity is low with Thaumarchaeota almost exclusively dominating the population. Ytterby clones are frequently most similar to clones isolated from subsurface environments, low temperature milieus and/or settings rich in metals. Overall, bacteria are dominant compared to archaea. Both bacterial and archaeal abundances are up to four orders of magnitude higher in manganese samples than in fracture water. Potential players in the manganese cycling are mainly found within the ferromanganese genera Hyphomicrobium and Pedomicrobium, and a group of Bacteroidetes sequences that cluster within an uncultured novel genus most closely related to the Terrimonas. This study strongly suggest that the production of the YBS deposit is microbially mediated.

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