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Metabolic Influence of Psychrophilic Diatoms on Travertines at the Huanglong Natural Scenic District of China

1
Department of Geological and Mineral Engineering, Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Resource Recycle & Fundamental Science on Nuclear Waste and Environmental Security Laboratory, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
2
Institute of Experimental Physics, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg 09599, Germany
3
Huanglong National Scenic Resort Administrative Bureau, Songpan 623300, China
4
Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 13084-13096; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph111213084
Received: 25 October 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 9 December 2014 / Published: 16 December 2014
Diatoms are a highly diversified group of algae that are widely distributed in aquatic ecosystems, and various species have different nutrient and temperature requirements for optimal growth. Here, we describe unusual psychrophilic diatoms of Cymbella in a travertine deposition environment in southwestern China in winter season. Travertine surfaces are colonized by these psychrophilic diatoms, which form biofilms of extracellular polysaccharide substances (EPS) with active metabolic activities in extremely cold conditions. The travertine in Huanglong, is a typical single crystalline calcite with anisotropic lattice distortions of unit cell parameters along axes of a and c, and this structure is suggestive of some level of metabolic mediation on mineralization. Near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (NEXAFS) results further confirmed the occurrence of biogenic distortion of the crystal lattice of travertine calcite. Overall, our results imply that the metabolic influence of psychrophilic diatoms may be particularly important for promoting formation and dissolution of travertine in extremely cold environments of Huanglong. The EPS of psychrophilic diatoms will protect travertine from HCO3 etching and provide template for forming travertine when water re-flowing, in warm season. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychrophilic diatom; metabolic interactions; travertine; biomineralization; Huanglong psychrophilic diatom; metabolic interactions; travertine; biomineralization; Huanglong
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Sun, S.; Dong, F.; Ehrlich, H.; Zhao, X.; Liu, M.; Dai, Q.; Li, Q.; An, D.; Dong, H. Metabolic Influence of Psychrophilic Diatoms on Travertines at the Huanglong Natural Scenic District of China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 13084-13096.

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