Back to overview


Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Pacton M. & Gorin G.E.,
Project Using New Geochemical and Nanotechnological Approach to Study Biomineralization in Microbiolites
Show all

Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Encyclopedia of Geobiology
Editor , Joachim Reitner & Volker Thiel
Publisher Springer Science+Business Media, New York City
Page(s) 677 - 680
ISBN 10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_154
Title of proceedings Encyclopedia of Geobiology


The term “nan(n)obacteria” has been originally proposed by Folk (1993) to describe 20–200 nm wide nanovesicles observed in carbonates using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Kajander and Çiftçioglu (1998) defined the role of similar tiny particles in kidney stone formation. Based on their mineralogical properties, nan(n)obacteria have also been called calcifying nanoparticles (CNP) by these authors. Nan(n)obacteria-like particles have been observed in Martian meteorites, thereby raising questions about a primitive form of life (Bradley et al., 1997). CNP are studied extensively in pathogenic diseases as infectious agents by nucleating crystals (hydroxyapatite). Therefore, some comparisons have tentatively been made with the geological record. Although they display some evidences of bacterial nature, their living status is subject to controversy because of their small size and the fact that DNA extraction remains unsuccessful. On one hand, biologists discuss their metabolic existence and on the other hand geologists argue for widespread organic fossilization in palaeoenvironments. When interrelations between geology and microbiology are possible, they are looked at only from the point of view of experimental procedures (e.g., one emphasizes the use of DNA probes in geological samples). This prohibits an objective comparison of these very small particles.