Diversity of Mn oxides produced by Mn(II)-oxidizing fungi

Cara M. Santelli, Samuel M. Webb, Alice C. Dohnalkova, Colleen M. Hansel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Manganese (Mn) oxides are environmentally abundant, highly reactive mineral phases that mediate the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, contaminants, carbon, and numerous other elements. Despite the belief that microorganisms (specifically bacteria and fungi) are responsible for the majority of Mn oxide formation in the environment, the impact of microbial species, physiology, and growth stage on Mn oxide formation is largely unresolved. Here, we couple microscopic and spectroscopic techniques to characterize the Mn oxides produced by four different species of Mn(II)-oxidizing Ascomycete fungi (Plectosphaerella cucumerina strain DS2psM2a2, Pyrenochaeta sp. DS3sAY3a, Stagonospora sp. SRC1lsM3a, and Acremonium strictum strain DS1bioAY4a) isolated from acid mine drainage treatment systems in central Pennsylvania. The site of Mn oxide formation varies greatly among the fungi, including deposition on hyphal surfaces, at the base of reproductive structures (e.g., fruiting bodies), and on envisaged extracellular polymers adjacent to the cell. The primary product of Mn(II) oxidation for all species growing under the same chemical and physical conditions is a nanoparticulate, poorly-crystalline hexagonal birnessite-like phase resembling synthetic δ-MnO2. The phylogeny and growth conditions (planktonic versus surface-attached) of the fungi, however, impact the conversion of the initial phyllomanganate to more ordered phases, such as todorokite (A. strictum strain DS1bioAY4a) and triclinic birnessite (Stagonospora sp. SRC1lsM3a). Our findings reveal that the species of Mn(II)-oxidizing fungi impacts the size, morphology, and structure of Mn biooxides, which will likely translate to large differences in the reactivity of the Mn oxide phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2762-2776
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2011

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