DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Purple nonsulfur bacterium Rhodobacter ferrooxidans. Rhodobacter ferrooxidans is a rod shaped, anoxygenic photosynthetic prokaryote (bacterium) that is also capable of oxidizing iron (Fe) (II) to iron (Fe) (III), which then hydrolyses to iron hydroxide (FeOH3). Modern-day photoautotrophic bacteria oxidize Fe(II) and use light energy for CO2 fixation. Seen here are rod shaped, R. ferrooxidans bacteria surrounded by crystalline iron hydroxide mineral phases. These organisms can significantly affect the geochemistry of the Earth's near surface environments. The acidophilic Fe(II) oxidizing bacteria and archaea play an important role in promoting acid mine drainage and neutrophilic Fe(II) oxidizing bacteria appear to contribute to the alteration of marine sediments. Magnification: x3.400 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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