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Using New Geochemical and Nanotechnological Approach to Study Biomineralization in Microbiolites

Applicant Vasconcelos Crisogono
Number 127327
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Geologisches Institut ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.10.2009 - 31.12.2012
Approved amount 374'670.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Geology
Geochemistry

Keywords (11)

Organic Compounds; Microbiolites; Nanotchnology; Dolomite; EPS; Paleothermometer; Biomineralization; stromatolites; microbial mats; organic signatures; clumped isotope

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
During the first year of the SNF research program, we propose to study the modern environment where dolomitic stromatolite structures are forming, as well as the geochemical signals that are produced in the stromatolites and microbial mats, and compare these with the geological record. As previously stated in the proposal, the project is divided into 3 parts, as follows: Part I. (a) To apply high-resolution microscopy techniques and spectrometry analysis at a nanoscale to stromatolites cultivated in the laboratory. Part II. To define a new paleothermometer for dolomite based on the ordering of 13C and 18O isotopes into bonds with each other in the carbonate mineral lattice (the so-called "clumped isotope" technique). Part III. To detect organic signatures in ancient microbialites applying Raman Spectroscopy. During the first year of the project, we are concentratling our research efforts on Part II. We are collecting field data, which will be very important to use in the calibration of the new paleothermometer for dolomite based on "clumped isotope" geochemistry. We began our sampling campaign in November, 2009 with the collection of water and sediment from the three lagoons in Brazil, where the mineral dolomite is precipitating. In addition, dolomite samples from Cretaceous formations were collected. The PhD student on the NSF project, Ms. Anelize Bahniuk, spent 3 months in the isotope laboratory of Prof. John Eiler at Caltech, Ca, USA, taking a trainee course to learn the "clumped isotope" technique and conduct preliminary measurements.To have a better control on the lagoonal environment, we will have a second field campaign during May 2010 in the study area to install the second meteorological station and Tinytag Aquatic temperature sensors into the sediment to collected data during the next three years. Two more field campaigns are scheduled for July and September 2010 to complete the dry season water and sediment sampling for this first phase of the project.In summary, the following activities are planned during the current year:-November 2009, collected samples for first measurements -January to April 2010, PhD student, Ms. Anelize Bahniuk, learned the "clumped isotopes" technique and analysed modern and ancient samples at Caltech, USA.-May 2010, continued sampling and installation of meteorological station and temperature sensor in the study area.-July and September 2010 sampling campaigns during the dry season.In between sampling campaigns, the analytical work will be undertaken for all three parts of the project.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Development of microbial carbonates in the Lower Cretaceous Codó Formation (north-east Brazil): Implications for interpretation of microbialite facies associations and palaeoenvironmental conditions
Bahniuk Anelize (2015), Development of microbial carbonates in the Lower Cretaceous Codó Formation (north-east Brazil): Implications for interpretation of microbialite facies associations and palaeoenvironmental conditions, in Sedimentology, 62, 155-181.
Going nano: a new step toward understanding the processes governing freshwater ooid formation
Pacton M Ariztegui D. Wacey D. Kilburn M.R. Rollion-Bard C. Farah R. Vasconcelos C. (2012), Going nano: a new step toward understanding the processes governing freshwater ooid formation, in Geology, 547.
Aerobic biomineralization of Mg-rich carbonates: implications for natural environments
Sánchez-Román M. Romanek C.S. Fernández-Remolar D.C. Sánchez-Navas A. McKenzie J.A. Amils (2011), Aerobic biomineralization of Mg-rich carbonates: implications for natural environments, in Chemical Geology, 281, 143-150.
Amorphous organic matter: microbes as a new clue for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions
Pacton M. Gorin G. Vasconcelos C. (2011), Amorphous organic matter: microbes as a new clue for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, in Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 166, 253-267.
Dolomite formation within the methanogenic zone induced by tectonically-driven fluids in the Peru accretionary prism
Meister P. Gutjahr M. Frank M. Bernasconi S.M. Vasconcelos C. and McKenzie J.A. (2011), Dolomite formation within the methanogenic zone induced by tectonically-driven fluids in the Peru accretionary prism, in Geology, 39(6), 563-566.
Experimentally determined biomediated Sr partition coefficient for dolomite: Significance and implication for natural dolomite
Sánchez M. McKenzie J.A. Wagener A. de L. Romanek C.S. Sánchez-Navas A. and Vasconcelos C. (2011), Experimentally determined biomediated Sr partition coefficient for dolomite: Significance and implication for natural dolomite, in Gecochem. Cosmochem. Acta, 75, 887-904.
Formation of dolomite at 40–80 °C in the Latemar carbonate buildup, Dolomites, Italy, from clumped isotope thermometry
Ferry J. M. Passey B.H. Vasconcelos C. and Eiler J. M. (2011), Formation of dolomite at 40–80 °C in the Latemar carbonate buildup, Dolomites, Italy, from clumped isotope thermometry, in Geology, 39(6), 571-574.
Microbial community composition and biogeochemical processes in cold-water-coral carbonate mounds in the Gulf of Cadiz, on the Moroccan margin
Templer S.P. Wehrmann L.M. Zhang Y. Vasconcelos C. and McKenzie J.A. (2011), Microbial community composition and biogeochemical processes in cold-water-coral carbonate mounds in the Gulf of Cadiz, on the Moroccan margin, in Marine Geology, 282, 138-148.
Nan(n)obacteria
Pacton M. & Gorin G.E. (2011), Nan(n)obacteria, in Joachim Reitner & Volker Thiel (ed.), Springer Science+Business Media, New York City, 677-680.
The role of purple sulphur bacteria in carbonate precipitation of modern and possibly Early Precambrian stromatolites
Warthmann R. Vasconcelos C. Bittermann A.G. and McKenzie J.A. (2011), The role of purple sulphur bacteria in carbonate precipitation of modern and possibly Early Precambrian stromatolites, in Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, 131, 141-149.
Palinomorfos e ostracodes não-marinhos de afloramentos da Formação Codó, Bacia do Parnaíba. Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida
Maizatto J. R. Queiroz Neto J. V. Pedrão E. F. & Bahniuk A. M., Palinomorfos e ostracodes não-marinhos de afloramentos da Formação Codó, Bacia do Parnaíba. Paleontologia: Cenários de Vida, in Carvalho S. I. Srivastava N. K. Strohschoen O and Lana C. C. (ed.), Editora Interciência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 365-375.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
California Institute of Technology United States of America (North America)
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Microbial carbonates in space and time Talk given at a conference Development of microbial sequences in the Lower Cretaceous Codó Formation (Northeast Brazil): Implications for interpretation of microbialite facies associations and paleo-environmental conditions 19.06.2013 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Haug Gerald H.; Vasconcelos Crisogono; Bahniuk Rumbelsperger Anelize;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
113590 Application of Molecular Biology Methods in Modern Carbonate Microbial Environments & Implications for the Geologic record 01.10.2006 Project funding
105149 Using a Geomicrobiological Approach to Study Specific Biogeochemical Problems Associated with Microbial Dolomite Precipitation (Part II) 01.10.2004 Project funding
67620 Using a Geomicrobiological Approach to Study Specific Biogeochemical Problems Associated with Microbial Dolomite Precipitation 01.10.2002 Project funding
143912 Using New Geochemical and Nanotechnological Approach to Study Biomineralization in Microbiolites II 01.01.2013 Project funding

Abstract

Summary: The discovery of modern dolomite forming under anaerobic conditions in hypersaline lagoons along the Rio de Janeiro coast of Brazil added a microbial factor to the list of essential requirements for dolomite formation. Within the context of 4 SNF-sponsored doctoral theses and related research projects, we have combined laboratory culture experiments with field studies in modern environments and comparative analysis of ancient analogues and have succinctly demonstrated the important role played by sulfate-reducing bacteria in the low-temperature precipitation of dolomite (Warthmann et al., 2000; van Lith, 2001; van Lith et al., 2002, 2003a,b). In addition, through the study of porewater and sediment cored at sites on the Peru Margin (ODP Leg 201), we were able to locate the focus of dolomite formation in deep-sea hemipelagic sediments at the microbially active transition between the zone of bacterial sulfate reduction and anaerobic methane oxidation (Meister, 2005; Meister et al., 2007). Furthermore, we have evaluated the importance of aerobic respiration using moderately halophylic bacteria to mediate dolomite precipitation (Sánchez-Román, 2006; Sánchez-Román et al., in press). We have applied microbial experiments to study the incorporation of geochemical tracers in microbial dolomite that can be used as indicators of depositional conditions during the formation of ancient dolomite, such as the oxygen-isotope ratio (Vasconcelos et al., 2005) or strontium composition (Sánchez-Román, 2006). We are in the process of finalizing our comparative microbial study of the semitropical hypersaline coastal system in Brazil with the classic sabkha environment in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., where dolomite forms in association with evaporate minerals under extreme arid conditions (Bontognali, thesis 2008). Finally, we are now able to maintain and cultural microbial mats and stromatolites under laboratory conditions, which enables us to evaluate the specific metabolisms of the living communities that are associated with Ca-Mg carbonate biomineralization (Vasconcelos et al., 2006). Thus, combining culture experiments, field studies and analysis of ancient analogues, we have demonstrated the importance of diverse microbes in carbonate precipitation under sedimentary conditions. The fact that dolomite and other Ca-Mg-carbonate minerals are commonly associated with bio-structures, known as microbiolites, reinforces our hypothesis that these minerals are associated in time and space with metabolic processes and environmental conditions. With the completion of this essential background research on the origin of microbial dolomite, we would now propose: (1) To use this knowledge to study carbonate biomineralization on a nanoscale. New nanotechnology, available at the ETH-Zürich, will allow us to image the processes occurring at the cell wall (i.e. using very high-resolution AFM, TEM and SEM) and to characterize the organic compounds involved in the carbonate mineral precipitation (i.e. using EELS and TERS). (2) To develop and calibrate a new oxygen-carbon isotope “clumped” method for dolomite, in collaboration with researchers at Caltech, which will enable us to distinguish between paleosalinity and paleotemperature data, achieved from our dolomite-water isotope fractionation equation (Vasconcelos et al., 2005). And, finally (3) To test and apply these newly calibrated techniques to the geologic record. In particular, we will use information gleaned from parts (1) and (2) to study the paleo-environmental conditions of biomineral formation and the geochemical indicators of the range of metabolism involved in the formation of Precambrian, Triassic and Recent microbiolite structures.
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