Mechanistic insight into biopolymer induced iron oxide mineralization through quantification of molecular bonding

K. K. Sand*, S. Jelavić, S. Dobberschütz, P. D. Ashby, M. J. Marshall, K. Dideriksen, S. L.S. Stipp, S. N. Kerisit, R. W. Friddle, J. J. Deyoreo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)
142 Downloads (Pure)


Microbial production of iron (oxyhydr)oxides on polysaccharide rich biopolymers occurs on such a vast scale that it impacts the global iron cycle and has been responsible for major biogeochemical events. Yet the physiochemical controls these biopolymers exert on iron (oxyhydr)oxide formation are poorly understood. Here we used dynamic force spectroscopy to directly probe binding between complex, model and natural microbial polysaccharides and common iron (oxyhydr)oxides. Applying nucleation theory to our results demonstrates that if there is a strong attractive interaction between biopolymers and iron (oxyhydr)oxides, the biopolymers decrease the nucleation barriers, thus promoting mineral nucleation. These results are also supported by nucleation studies and density functional theory. Spectroscopic and thermogravimetric data provide insight into the subsequent growth dynamics and show that the degree and strength of water association with the polymers can explain the influence on iron (oxyhydr)oxide transformation rates. Combined, our results provide a mechanistic basis for understanding how polymer-mineral-water interactions alter iron (oxyhydr)oxides nucleation and growth dynamics and pave the way for an improved understanding of the consequences of polymer induced mineralization in natural systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3323-3333
Number of pages11
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number8
Early online date15 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanistic insight into biopolymer induced iron oxide mineralization through quantification of molecular bonding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this