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Microbial diversity involved in iron and cryptic sulfur cycling in the ferruginous, low-sulfate waters of Lake Pavin

Abstract : Both iron-and sulfur-reducing bacteria strongly impact the mineralogy of iron, but their activity has long been thought to be spatially and temporally segregated based on the higher thermodynamic yields of iron over sulfate reduction. However, recent evidence suggests that sulfur cycling can predominate even under ferruginous conditions. In this study, we investigated the potential for bacterial iron and sulfur metabolisms in the iron-rich (1.2 mM dissolved Fe 2+), sulfate-poor (< 20 μM) Lake Pavin which is expected to host large populations of iron-reducing and iron-oxidizing microorganisms influencing the mineralogy of iron precipitates in its permanently anoxic bottom waters and sediments. 16S rRNA gene ampli-con libraries from at and below the oxycline revealed that highly diverse populations of sul-fur/sulfate-reducing (SRB) and sulfur/sulfide-oxidizing bacteria represented up to 10% and 5% of the total recovered sequences in situ, respectively, which together was roughly equivalent to the fraction of putative iron cycling bacteria. In enrichment cultures amended with key iron phases identified in situ (ferric iron phosphate, ferrihydrite) or with soluble iron (Fe 2+), SRB were the most competitive microorganisms, both in the presence and absence of added sulfate. The large fraction of Sulfurospirillum, which are known to reduce thiosul-fate and sulfur but not sulfate, present in all cultures was likely supported by Fe(III)-driven sulfide oxidation. These results support the hypothesis that an active cryptic sulfur cycle interacts with iron cycling in the lake. Analyses of mineral phases showed that ferric phosphate in cultures dominated by SRB was transformed to vivianite with concomitant precipitation of iron sulfides. As colloidal FeS and vivianite have been reported in the monimo-limnion, we suggest that SRB along with iron-reducing bacteria strongly influence iron mineralogy in the water column and sediments of Lake Pavin.
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Jasmine Berg, Didier Jézéquel, Arnaud Duverger, Dominique Lamy, Christel Laberty-Robert, et al.. Microbial diversity involved in iron and cryptic sulfur cycling in the ferruginous, low-sulfate waters of Lake Pavin. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (2), pp.e0212787. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0212787⟩. ⟨hal-02066354⟩

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