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Book: Acid Sulfate Weathering
Published by: Soil Science Society of America

 

This chapter in ACID SULFATE WEATHERING

  1.  p. 57-75
    SSSA Special Publication 10.
    Acid Sulfate Weathering

    J.A. Kittrick, D.S. Fanning and L.R. Hossner (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-905-3

     

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doi:10.2136/sssaspecpub10.c4

Microbiological Transformations of Iron and Sulfur and Their Applications to Acid Sulfate Soils and Tidal Marshes1

  1. K. C. Ivarson,
  2. G. J. Ross and
  3. N. M. Miles2

Abstract

Laboratory experiments show that the acidophilic iron-oxidizing bacterium Thiobacillus ferrooxidans is invariably isolated from acidic environments (pH 1.9 to 3.4) containing pyrite and basic ferric sulfates. When solutions of FeSO4 (pH 2.9) containing either K+ NH4+, or Na+ are inoculated with the bacterium, Fe2+ oxidation, and formation of basic ferric sulfates begins within a few days. Their rates of formation are in accord with analyses of acid sulfate soils. Thus it is likely that the iron-oxidizing bacterium takes part in the formation of basic ferric sulfates in situ and plays a major role in the genesis of acid sulfate soils. In tidal marsh areas where some acid sulfate soils are subjected to prolonged submergence, Desulfovibrio desulfuricans (a sulfate-reducing bacterium) aids in the pyritization of the basic ferric sulfates. Hence in such areas there appears to be a generic relationship between pyrite and basic ferric sulfates and the above two microbes help to maintain this relationship by cycling sulfur and iron between the two minerals.

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