• magnetite;
  • X-ray diffraction;
  • texture patterns;
  • magnetosome chains;
  • magnetotactic bacteria

One-dimensional magnetic nanostructures have magnetic properties superior to non-organized materials due to strong uniaxial shape anisotropy. Magnetosome chains in magnetotactic bacteria represent a biological paradigm of such magnet, where magnetite crystals synthesized in organelles called magnetosomes are arranged into linear chains. Two-dimensional synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) is applied to cells of magnetotactic bacteria that are pre-aligned with a magnetic field to determine the crystallographic orientation of magnetosomes relative to the chain axis. The obtained pole figure patterns reveal a [111] fiber texture along the chain direction for magnetospirilla strains MSR-1 and AMB-1, whereas a [100] fiber texture is measured for Desulfovibrio magneticus strain RS-1. The [100] axis appears energetically unfavorable because it represents a magnetic hard axis in magnetite, but can be turned into an effective easy axis by particle elongation along [100] for aspect ratios higher than 1.25, consistent with aspect ratios in RS-1 magnetosomes determined earlier. The pronounced fiber textures can be explained either by a strain-specific biological control on crystal orientation at the chain level or by physical alignment effects due to intra-chain magnetic interactions. In this case, biological control of the axis of elongation would be sufficient to influence the crystallographic texture of the magnetosome chain.