Formation of Ni- and Zn-Sulfides in cultures of sulfate-reducing bacteria

Jonathan P. Gramp, Jerry M. Bigham, Keiko Sasaki, Olli H. Tuovinen

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30 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to characterize Ni- and Zn-sulfides precipitated in sulfate-reducing bacterial cultures. Fe-free media containing 58 mM SO42- were amended with Ni and Zn chloride followed by inoculation. Precipitates were sampled from cultures after two weeks of incubation at 22, 45, and 60°C. Abiotic controls were prepared by reacting bacteria-free liquid media with Na2S solutions under otherwise identical conditions. Precipitates were collected anaerobically, freeze-dried and analyzed by x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy, and for total Ni, Zn, and S. In Ni-containing media, biogenic sulfide precipitates were mostly heazelwoodite (Ni3S2), whereas abiotic precipitates were mixed heazelwoodite and vaesite (NiS2). The biogenic Ni-precipitates were better crystalline than the corresponding abiotic samples. Sphalerite (ZnS) was identified by XRD in precipitates sampled from Zn-containing media. Scanning electron microscopy revealed disordered morphological features for the sulfides, which occurred mostly as aggregates of fine particles in biogenic samples, whereas abiotic precipitates contained more plate- and needle-like structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-614
Number of pages6
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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