Reductive dissolution and biomineralization of iron hydroxide under dynamic flow conditions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Iron cycling and the associated changes in solid phase have dramatic implications for trace element mobility and bioavailability. Here we explore the formation of secondary iron phases during microbially mediated reductive dissolution of ferrihydrite-coated sand under dynamic flow conditions. An initial period (10 d) of rapid reduction, indicated by consumption of lactate and production of acetate and Fe-(II) to the pore water in association with a darkening of the column material, is followed by much lower rate of reduction to the termination of the experiment after 48 d. Although some Fe (<25%) is lost to the effluent pore water, the majority remains within the column as ferrihydrite (20-70%) and the secondary mineral phases magnetite (0-70%) and goethite (0-25%). Ferrihydrite converts to goethite in the influent end of the column where dissolved Fe(II) concentrations are low and converts to magnetite toward the effluent end where Fe(III) concentrations are elevated. A decline in the rate of Fe(II) production occurs concurrent with the formation of goethite and magnetite; at the termination of the experiment, the rate of reduction is <5% the initial rate. Despite the dramatic decrease in the rate of reduction, greater than 80% of the residual Fe remains in the ferric state. These results highlight the importance of coupled flow and water chemistry in controlling the rate and solid-phase products of iron (hydr)oxide reduction.

publication date

  • April 15, 2002