Through geological time, cyanobacterial picoplankton have impacted the global carbon cycle by sequestrating CO 2 and forming authigenic carbonate minerals. Various studies have emphasized the cyanobacterial cell envelopes as nucleation sites for calcium carbonate formation. Little is known, however, about how environmental conditions (e.g., nutrient content) trigger a cell surface and its properties and, consequently, influence biomineralization. Our study aims to understand how phosphorus (P) concentration impacts the properties of cell surfaces and cell–mineral interactions. Changes to the surface properties of marine Synechococcus strains grown under various P conditions were characterized by potentiometric titrations, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). Biomineralization experiments were performed using cyanobacterial cells, which were grown under different P concentrations and exposed to solutions slightly oversaturated with respect to calcium carbonate. We observed the changes induced by different P conditions in the macromolecular composition of the cyanobacteria cell envelope and its consequences for biomineralization. The modified properties of cell surfaces were linked to carbonate precipitation rates and mineral morphology from biomineralization experiments. Our analysis shows that the increase of phosphoryl groups and surface charge, as well as the relative proportion of polysaccharides and proteins, can impact carbonate precipitation by picocyanobacteria.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
- Calcium carbonate biomineralization
- Infrared spectroscopy
- Synechococcus cells
- Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy