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  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Biologically induced mineralization in the tree Milicia excelsa (Moraceae) : its causes and consequences to the environment
    Iroko trees (Milicia excelsa) in Ivory Coast and Cameroon are unusual because of their highly biomineralized tissues, which can virtually transform the trunk into stone. Oxalic acid (C2O4H2) and metal-oxalate play important roles in their ecosystems. In this study, the various forms of oxalate and carbonate mineralization reactions are investigated by using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. Calcium oxalate monohydrate is associated with stem, bark and root tissues, whereas calcium oxalate dihydrate is found with wood rot fungi in soils, as well as in decaying wood. Laboratory cultures show that many soil bacteria are able to oxidize calcium oxalate rapidly, resulting in an increase in solution pH. In terms of M. excelsa, these transformations lead to the precipitation of calcium carbonate, not only within the wood tissue, but also within the litter and soil. We calculate that c. 500 kg of inorganic carbon is accumulated inside an 80-year-old tree, and c. 1000 kg is associated with its surrounding soil. Crucially, the fixation of atmospheric CO2 during tree photosynthesis, and its ultimate transformation into calcite, potentially represents a long-term carbon sink, because inorganic carbon has a longer residence time than organic carbon. Considering that calcium oxalate biosynthesis is widespread in the plant and fungal kingdoms, the biomineralization displayed by M. excelsa may be an extremely common phenomena.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Tracing soil carbon cycle and the origin of needle fibre calcite
    (2009)
    Milliere, Laure
    ;
    Hasinger, Olivier
    ;
    ; ;
    Spangenberg, Jorge
    ;
    Verrecchia, Eric P.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Biomineralization in plants as a long-term carbon sink
    (2004) ;
    Olivier Braissant
    ;
    Carbon sequestration in the global carbon cycle is almost always attributed to organic carbon storage alone, while soil mineral carbon is generally neglected. However, due to the longer residence time of mineral carbon in soils (102–106 years), if stored in large quantities it represents a potentially more efficient sink. The aim of this study is to estimate the mineral carbon accumulation due to the tropical iroko tree (Milicia excelsa) in Ivory Coast. The iroko tree has the ability to accumulate mineral carbon as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in ferralitic soils, where CaCO3 is not expected to precipitate. An estimate of this accumulation was made by titrating carbonate from two characteristic soil profiles in the iroko environment and by identifying calcium (Ca) sources. The system is considered as a net carbon sink because carbonate accumulation involves only atmospheric CO2 and Ca from Ca-carbonate-free sources. Around one ton of mineral carbon was found in and around an 80-year-old iroko stump, proving the existence of a mineral carbon sink related to the iroko ecosystem. Conservation of iroko trees and the many other biomineralizing plant species is crucial to the maintenance of this mineral carbon sink.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Isolation and characterization of oxalotrophic bacteria from tropical soils
    The oxalate–carbonate pathway (OCP) is a biogeochemical set of reactions that involves the conversion of atmospheric CO2 fixed by plants into biomass and, after the biological recycling of calcium oxalate by fungi and bacteria, into calcium carbonate in terrestrial environments. Oxalotrophic bacteria are a key element of this process because of their ability to oxidize calcium oxalate. However, the diversity and alternative carbon sources of oxalotrophs participating to this pathway are unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize oxalotrophic bacteria in tropical OCP systems from Bolivia, India, and Cameroon. Ninety-five oxalotrophic strains were isolated and identified by sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Four genera corresponded to newly reported oxalotrophs (Afipia, Polaromonas, Humihabitans, and Psychrobacillus). Ten strains were selected to perform a more detailed characterization. Kinetic curves and microcalorimetry analyses showed that Variovorax soli C18 has the highest oxalate consumption rate with 0.240 μM h-1. Moreover, Streptomyces achromogenes A9 displays the highest metabolic plasticity. This study highlights the phylogenetic and physiological diversity of oxalotrophic bacteria in tropical soils under the influence of the oxalate–carbonate pathway.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Bacterially Induced Mineralization of Calcium Carbonate in Terrestrial Environments: The Role of Exopolysaccharides and Amino Acids
    (2003)
    Braissant, Olivier
    ;
    ;
    Dupraz, Christophe
    ;
    Verrecchia, Eric P.
    This study stresses the role of specific bacterial outer structures (such as glycocalix and parietal polymers) on calcium carbonate crystallization in terrestrial environments. The aim is to compare calcium carbonate crystals obtained in bacterial cultures with those obtained during abiotically mediated synthesis to show implications of exopolysaccharides and amino acids in the mineralogy and morphology of calcium carbonate crystals produced by living bacteria. This is done using various amounts of purified exopolysaccharide (xanthan EPS) and L-amino acids with a range of acidities. Amino acids and increasing xanthan content enhance sphere formation in calcite and vaterite. Regarding calcite, the morphology of crystals evolves from rhombohedral to needle shape. This evolution is characterized by stretching along the c axis as the amino acid changes from glutamine to aspartic acid and as the medium is progressively enriched in EPS. Regarding vaterite, the spherulitic habit is preserved throughout the morphological sequence and starts with spheres formed by the agglomeration of short needles, which are produced in a xanthan-free medium with glutamine. Monocrystals forming spheres increase in size as xanthan is added and the acidity of amino acids (glutamic and aspartic acids) is increased. At high xanthan concentrations, amino acids, and mainly aspartic and glutamic acids, induce vaterite precipitation. The role of the carboxyl group is also probably critical because bacterial outer structures associated with peptidoglycan commonly contain carboxyl groups. This role, combined with the results presented here, clearly demonstrate the influence of bacterial outer structure composition on the morphology and mineralogy of bacterially induced calcium carbonate. This point should not be neglected in the interpretation of calcite cements and carbonate accumulations in terrestrial environments.