Fig. A strain of magnetite crystals formed by BCM within a bacteria of species Magnetospirillum gryphyswaldense (from Pósfai & Dunin-Borkowski 2009).
One topic that drew my attention when taking the advanced course in paleontology this spring was biomineralization. I quickly discovered it to be a topic that greatly interested me. So I choosed to dig in to it more when we had an exercise in writing review papers.
In retrospect theres lots of things I would have done differently in the paper. I would probably rework the chapter on “applications” completly with lots more on mining and how knowledge on biominerals can be used in environmental questions. Polluted soils and so on. But time was limited and I had to skip some on that part.
Another part that might confuse some readers is that the terminology used differs greatly from author to author. The concepts of “biominerals” and “organiminerals” are greatly debated and most certainly some would say that they dont agree with how I use the terms in my paper. But you can’t please everybody.
So, if you want to read my full paper, please do so. Its here in full lenth (minus illustrations). Please give a comment on it if you want to. Its already been graded and passed, but constructive criticism is welcomed.
Micro-organisms reduce, immobilize and form many types of metal particles and also form more massive ore formations such as Banded Iron Formations (BIF). These processes are referred to as biomineralization and can be categorized in to Biologically Induced Mineralization (BIM) and Biologically Controlled Mineralization (BCM), that simply defines whether the process is intentional and intracellular (BCM) or a byproduct of metabolism (BIM). The importance of understanding the role and function of bacteria and other microbes and their use of minerals in its environment primarily relate to improving the production of metal for the industry (biomining and bioleaching), but also environmental issues where microbes can control and immobilize toxic elements in the environment. And finally, astrobiologists also use biominerals as indicators of life on other planets.
Keywords: Biomineral, bacteria, BIM, BCM, organomineral, biomining, bioleaching