Taylor, Kevin G; Perry, Christopher T; Greenaway, Anthony M; Machent, Philip G
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Bacterial iron oxide reduction in a terrigenous sediment-impacted tropical shallow marine carbonate system, north Jamaica
Date of Publication
Discovery Bay, a carbonate-dominated embayment in north Jamaica, has been subject to inputs for 40 years of iron-rich bauxite sediment associated with the local mining and transport of processed bauxite. As such, this site is an ideal natural laboratory to study the records and impacts of iron oxide inputs upon geochemical, diagenetic, and microbial processes in tropical carbonate sediments. Total Fe contents in sites in the bay not receiving bauxite inputs are negligible and porewater Ca2+, SO42- and Cl- indicate that bacterial sulphate reduction is an important process. In contrast, surface sediments receiving bauxite inputs contain significant total Fe, from 44 Ámol/g in shallow (5 m water depth) sites to 110 Ámol/g in deeper (20 m water depth) sites. Up-core increases in total Fe record increased temporal inputs into the bay. Within these Fe-rich sediments porewater data shows the presence of FeII released by bacterial FeIII reduction. There is no direct evidence for significant bacterial sulphate reduction in these sediments. Iron oxides within all bauxite-impacted sediments display a high potential reducibility, from 40% to 80% of the total Fe present as dithionite-extractable FeIII. Experimental analysis of the potential susceptibility to, and rates of, bacterial FeIII reduction, utilising Discovery Bay sediment and Shewanella putrefaciens CN32 (a known FeIII-reducer) has confirmed the high bacterial reducibility of iron oxides within the sediment. Up to 75% of initial dithionite-extractable FeIII in the sediments was reduced over 15 days. The presence of iron oxides within the Discovery Bay shallow marine carbonate systems has markedly altered the chemical diagenetic processes taking place, with a shift from apparent dominance of bacterial sulphate reduction at non-impacted (Fe-poor) sites, to highly significant bacterial FeIII reduction in Fe-rich bauxite-impacted sediments. Given the perceived global increases in terrigenoclastic sediment inputs into tropical carbonate systems as a result of land-use and climate changes, coupled with the documented role that iron oxide reduction plays in nutrient and contaminant cycling in sediment systems, more research into the perturbation of early diagenesis by iron oxide inputs is required.....