Enhancement of biological reduction of hematite by electron shuttling and Fe(II) complexation

Environ Sci Technol. 2002 May 1;36(9):1939-46. doi: 10.1021/es011139s.


Natural organic matter (NOM) enhancement of the biological reduction of hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) by the dissimilatory iron-reducing bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens strain CN32 was investigated under nongrowth conditions designed to minimize precipitation of biogenic Fe(II). Hydrogen served as the electron donor. Anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate (AQDS), methyl viologen, and methylene blue [quinones with an Ew0 (pH 7) of 0.011 V or less], ferrozine [a strong Fe(II) complexing agent], and characterized aquatic NOM (Georgetown NOM or Suwannee River fulvic acid) enhanced bioreduction in 5-day experiments whereas 1,4-benzoquinone (Ew0 value = 0.280 V) did not. A linear relationship existed between total Fe(II) produced and concentrations of ferrozine or NOM but not quinones, except in the case of methylene blue. Such a linear relationship between Fe(II) and methylene blue concentrations could be due to the systems being far undersaturated with respect to methylene blue or the loss of the thermodynamic driving force. A constant concentration of AQDS and variable concentrations of ferrozine produced a linear relationship between total Fe(II) produced and the concentration of ferrozine. Enhancement effects of both AQDS and ferrozine were additive. NOM may serve as both an electron shuttle and an Fe(II) complexant; however, the concentration dependence of hematite reduction with NOM was more similar to ferrozine than quinones. NOM likely enhances hematite reduction initially by electron shuttling and then further by Fe(II) complexation, which prevents Fe(II) sorption to hematite and cell surfaces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Electron Transport
  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism*
  • Ferrous Compounds / chemistry*
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Shewanella putrefaciens / physiology*


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • ferric oxide