Calcareous organic matter coatings sequester siderophores in alkaline soils

Rene M. Boiteau, Ravi Kukkadapu, John B. Cliff, Chuck R. Smallwood, Libor Kovarik, Mark G. Wirth, Mark H. Engelhard, Tamas Varga, Alice Dohnalkova, Daniel E. Perea, Thomas Wietsma, James J. Moran, Kirsten S. Hofmockel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Although most studies of organic matter (OM) stabilization in soils have focused on adsorption to aluminosilicate and iron-oxide minerals due to their strong interactions with organic nucleophiles, stabilization within alkaline soils has been empirically correlated with exchangeable Ca. Yet the extent of competing processes within natural soils remains unclear because of inadequate characterization of soil mineralogy and OM distribution within the soil in relation to minerals, particularly in C poor alkaline soils. In this study, we employed bulk and surface-sensitive spectroscopic methods including X-ray diffraction, 57Fe-Mössbauer, and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) methods to investigate the minerology and soil organic C and N distribution on individual fine particles within an alkaline soil. Microscopy and XPS analyses demonstrated preferential sorption of Ca-containing OM onto surfaces of Fe-oxides and calcite. This result was unexpected given that the bulk combined amounts of quartz and Fe-containing feldspars of the soil constitute ~90% of total minerals and the surface atomic composition was largely Fe and Al (>10% combined) compared to Ca (4.2%). Soil sorption experiments were conducted with two siderophores, pyoverdine and enterobactin, to evaluate the adsorption of organic molecules with functional groups that strongly and preferentially bind Fe. A greater fraction of pyoverdine was adsorbed compared to enterobactin, which is smaller, less polar, and has a lower aqueous solubility. Using NanoSIMS to map the distribution of isotopically-labeled siderophores, we observed correlations with Ca and Fe, along with strong isotopic dilution with native C, indicating associations with OM coatings rather than with bare mineral surfaces. We propose a mechanism of adsorption by which organics aggregate within alkaline soils via cation bridging, favoring the stabilization of larger molecules with a greater number of nucleophilic functional groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138250
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adsorption
  • Alkaline soil
  • Nanoscale
  • Organic-mineral interactions
  • Siderophores


Dive into the research topics of 'Calcareous organic matter coatings sequester siderophores in alkaline soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this