Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can produce iron sulfide (FeS) solids with mineralogical characteristics that may be beneficial for a variety of biogeochemical applications, such as long-term immobilization of uranium. In this study, the growth and metabolism of Desulfovibrio vulgaris, one of the best-studied SRB species, were comprehensively monitored in batch studies, and the biogenic FeS solids were characterized by X-ray diffraction. Controlling the pH by varying the initial pH, the iron-to-sulfate ratio, or the electron donor - affected the growth of D. vulgaris and strongly influenced the formation and growth of FeS solids. In particular, lower pH (from initial conditions or a decrease caused by less sulfate reduction, FeS precipitation, or using pyruvate as the electron donor) produced larger-sized mackinawite (Fe1+xS). Greater accumulation of free sulfide, from more sulfate reduction by D. vulgaris, also led to larger-sized mackinawite and particularly stimulated mackinawite transformation to greigite (Fe3S4) when the free sulfide concentration was 29.3mM. Furthermore, sufficient free Fe2+ led to the additional formation of vivianite [Fe3(PO4)2·8(H2O)]. Thus, microbially relevant conditions (initial pH, choice of electron donor, and excess or deficiency of sulfide) are tools to generate biogenic FeS solids of different characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - May 15 2014


  • Desulfovibrio vulgaris
  • Greigite
  • Mackinawite
  • Sulfate reduction
  • Vivianite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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