Although phosphate and carbonate are important constituents in ancient and modern environments, it is not yet clear their biogeochemical relationships and their mechanisms of formation. Microbially mediated carbonate formation has been widely studied whereas little is known about the formation of phosphate minerals. Here we report that a new bacterial strain, Tessarococcus lapidicaptus, isolated from the subsurface of Rio Tinto basin (Huelva, SW Spain), is capable of precipitating Fe-rich phosphate and carbonate minerals. We observed morphological differences between phosphate and carbonate, which may help us to recognize these minerals in terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments. Finally, considering the scarcity and the unequal distribution and preservation patterns of phosphate and carbonates, respectively, in the geological record and the biomineralization process that produces those minerals, we propose a hypothesis for the lack of Fe-phosphates in natural environments and ancient rocks.
- Bacterial precipitates