Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2012 Apr 27;336(6080):459-62. doi: 10.1126/science.1216171.

An early-branching microbialite cyanobacterium forms intracellular carbonates.

Author information

  • 1Institut de Minéralogie et de Physique de la Matière Condensée, CNRS UMR 7590, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.


Cyanobacteria have affected major geochemical cycles (carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen) on Earth for billions of years. In particular, they have played a major role in the formation of calcium carbonates (i.e., calcification), which has been considered to be an extracellular process. We identified a cyanobacterium in modern microbialites in Lake Alchichica (Mexico) that forms intracellular amorphous calcium-magnesium-strontium-barium carbonate inclusions about 270 nanometers in average diameter, revealing an unexplored pathway for calcification. Phylogenetic analyses place this cyanobacterium within the deeply divergent order Gloeobacterales. The chemical composition and structure of the intracellular precipitates suggest some level of cellular control on the biomineralization process. This discovery expands the diversity of organisms capable of forming amorphous calcium carbonates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center