The microbial catalysis of Mn(II) oxidation is believed to be a dominant source of abundant sorption- and redox-active Mn oxides in marine, freshwater, and subsurface aquatic environments. In spite of their importance, environmental oxides of known biogenic origin have generally not been characterized in detail from a structural perspective. Hyporheic zone Mn oxide grain coatings at Pinal Creek, Arizona, a metals-contaminated stream, have been identified as being dominantly microbial in origin and are well studied from bulk chemistry and contaminant hydrology perspectives. This site thus presents an excellent opportunity to study the structures of terrestrial microbial Mn oxides in detail. XRD and EXAFS measurements performed in this study indicate that the hydrated Pinal Creek Mn oxide grain coatings are layer-type Mn oxides with dominantly hexagonal or pseudo-hexagonal layer symmetry. XRD and TEM measurements suggest the oxides to be nanoparticulate plates with average dimensions on the order of 11 nm thick ?? 35 nm diameter, but with individual particles exhibiting thickness as small as a single layer and sheets as wide as 500 nm. The hydrated oxides exhibit a 10-?? basal-plane spacing and turbostratic disorder. EXAFS analyses suggest the oxides contain layer Mn(IV) site vacancy defects, and layer Mn(III) is inferred to be present, as deduced from Jahn-Teller distortion of the local structure. The physical geometry and structural details of the coatings suggest formation within microbial biofilms. The biogenic Mn oxides are stable with respect to transformation into thermodynamically more stable phases over a time scale of at least 5 months. The nanoparticulate layered structural motif, also observed in pure culture laboratory studies, appears to be characteristic of biogenic Mn oxides and may explain the common occurrence of this mineral habit in soils and sediments. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
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Structural characterization of terrestrial microbial Mn oxides from Pinal Creek, AZ