About this Research Topic
Microbes have been a driving force in shaping our environments for the past 3.8 Gyrs through their involvement in various geochemical processes, such as redox reactions, mineral formation and dissolution, contaminants and nutrients transformation. Moreover, diverse organic substances of microbial origin have been shown to substantially impact their environment and, consequently, biogeochemical cycling of numerous elements, such as Ca, Fe, Sr, Ba, As, S, Cr, Zn, Se and P. This Research Topic focuses on exploring effect of microbial activity on transformation of contaminants and radionuclides in the terrestrial and aquatic environments.
Microbes possess transport systems for essential elements; inessential elements can also be taken up. Microbially mediated mineral weathering (i.e. bioweathering) has been extensively studied as a tool to extract metals from ores. Redox transformations are also widespread in microbial metabolism and affect contaminant mobility. Microbes are also capable of mediating metal mineral precipitation (biomineralization), e.g. by metabolite production, by changing the physio-chemical microenvironmental conditions prevailing intracellularly or extracellularly. Many different types of biominerals e.g. various carbonates, phosphates, etc., have been examined as a means for bioremediating inorganic and organic metal or radionuclide pollutants. Development of these applications requires understanding the stability, reactivity, and element uptake capacity of biominerals, precipitation kinetics and nucleation process, and underlying biochemical mechanisms driving biomineral formation.
In this Research Topic, we welcome all contributions exploring the role of microbes in transforming contaminants and radionuclides under relevant environmental conditions. Theoretical, laboratory, and field-based approaches, or combination thereof, at range of scales in aquatic or terrestrial environments are invited. This topic explores techniques at the intersections of geochemistry, microbiology, genetics and molecular biogeochemistry, including culture-independent approaches (e.g., metagenomics, metaproteomics), laboratory and field-based microbial-metal interactions, traditional and non-traditional isotope techniques, imaging and spectroscopic methods to assess metal speciation. Studies using analytical cutting-edge techniques such as NanoSIMS, cryo-TEM, synchrotron-based spectroscopic methods are also welcome.
Keywords: bio-mineralization, metal cycling, bioremediation, synchrotron, radionuclides
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