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Keywords:

  • phosphorus;
  • cyanobacteria;
  • moss;
  • algae

Abstract

Using electron microscopy techniques (SEM, LTSEM) coupled with analytical methods (XRD and EDS) the role of phosphorus has been assessed in the formation of freshwater calcite deposits (tufa) in a small pond of the Ruidera Lakes (Spain). Differences between the cell walls and sheaths of bacteria and eukaryotic algae as well as the existence of additional layers of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) were features that lead to differences in the process of induced calcite biomineralization. Phosphorus has influence in the biomineralization of the EPS, sheaths and cell walls of cyanobacteria allowing for fossil preservation whereas does not participate in the calcite precipitation around algae and mosses. This variability may explain the different positive or negative roles played by natural or artificial inputs of phosphorus in hard water lakes and the different morphological features of calcite precipitates associated with eukaryotic and cyanobacteria picoplankton found in natural environments. The biomineralization observed is in agreement with the isotopic composition of the tufa layers that reflect the variations in environmental conditions around biological communities. (© 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)