Metal-oxidizing bacteria may play a key role in the submarine weathering of volcanic rocks and the formation of ferromanganese crusts. Putative fossil microbes encrusted in Mn oxide phases are commonly observed on volcanic glasses recovered from the deep ocean; however, no known Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria have been directly identified or cultured from natural weathered basalts. To isolate epilithic Mn(II) oxidizing bacteria, we collected young, oxidized pillow basalts from the cold, outer portions of Loihi Seamount, and from nearby exposures of pillow basalts at South Point and Kealakekua Bay, HI. SEM imaging, EDS spectra and X-ray absorption spectroscopy data show that microbial biolfilms and associated Mn oxides were abundant on the basalt surfaces. Using a series of seawater-based media that range from highly oligotrophic to organic-rich, we have obtained 26 mesophilic, heterotrophic Mn(II)-oxidizing isolates dominated by α and γ-Proteobacteria, such as Sulfitobacter, Methylarcula and Pseudoatteromonas spp. Additional isolates include Microbulbifer, Alteromonas, Marinobacter, and Halomonas spp. None of the isolate, nor their closet relatives, were previosly recognized as Mn(II) oxidizing bacteria. The physiological function of Mn(II) oxidation is clearly spread amongst many phylogenetically diverse organisms colonizing basalt surfaces. Our findings support a biological catalist of Mn(II) oxidation during basalt-wearing, and suggest heterotrophic Mn(II) oxidixing bacteria may be ubiquitously associated with submarine glasses within epilithic and endolithic biofilms.
- Manganese oxidation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Environmental Science(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)