Silicon and phosphorus linkage with iron via oxygen in the amorphous matrix of Gallionella Ferruginea stalks

Tomoko Suzuki, Hideki Hashimoto, Atsushi Itadani, Nobuyuki Matsumoto, Hitoshi Kunoh, Jun Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial species belonging to the genus Gallionella are Fe-oxidizing bacteria that produce uniquely twisted extracellular stalks consisting of iron-oxide-encrusted inorganic/organic fibers in aquatic environments. This paper describes the degree of crystallinity of Gallionella stalks and the chemical linkages of constituent elements in the stalk fibers. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the matrix of the fiber edge consisted of an assembly of primary particles of approximately 3 nm in diameter. Scanning transmission electron microscopy revealed the rough granular surfaces of the fibers, which reflect the disordered assembly of the primary particles, indicating a high porosity and large specific surface area of the fibers. This may provide the surface with broader reactive properties. X-ray diffractometry, selected-area electron diffraction, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy together showed that the primary particles had an amorphous structure. Furthermore, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy detected the bands characteristic of the vibrational modes assigned to O-H, Fe-O-H, P-O-H, Si-O-H, Si-O-Fe, and P-O-Fe bonds in the stalks, suggesting that the minor constituent elements P and Si could affect the degree of crystallinity of the fibers by linking with Fe via O. This knowledge about the mutual associations of these elements provides deeper insights into the unique inorganic/organic hybrid structure of the stalks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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