Feldspars as a Source of Nutrients for Microorganisms

Feldspars as a Source of Nutrients for Microorganisms

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  • November 27, 2018
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Phosphorus and nitrogen are essential macronutrients necessary for the survival of virtually all living organisms. In groundwater systems, these nutrients can be quite scarce and can represent limiting elements for growth of subsurface microorganisms. In this study we examined silicate sources of these elements by characterizing the colonization and weathering of feldspars in situ using field microcosms. We found that in carbon-rich anoxic groundwaters where P and N are scarce, feldspars that contain inclusions of P-minerals such as apatite are preferentially colonized over similar feldspars without P. A microcline from S. Dakota, which contains 0.24% P 2 O 5 but <1 mu mol/g NH 4 (super +) , was heavily colonized and deeply weathered. A similar microcline from Ontario, which has no detectable P or NH 4 (super +) , was barren of attached organisms and completely unweathered after one year. Anorthoclase …

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