A Caltech Library Service

Feasting on Minerals

Newman, Dianne K. (2010) Feasting on Minerals. Science, 327 (5967). pp. 793-794. ISSN 0036-8075.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Far up in the Chilean Andes, in remote arid regions seemingly inhospitable to life, intrepid microorganisms thrive on a diet of rocks and air. Unfazed by long periods of desiccation or high ultraviolet energy flux, they grow in baths of sulfuric acid replete with toxic metals. The microbes fix carbon dioxide into biomass by exploiting the energy to be gained by "eating" (oxidizing) minerals that contain reduced forms of iron and sulfur, such as chalcopyrite (CuFeS_2). Through their metabolism, these microbes mobilize precious metals from ore deposits into solution, making them powerful catalysts for biomining (see the first figure) (1). Recent research has begun to elucidate how they achieve this remarkable feat.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
Newman, Dianne K.0000-0003-1647-1918
Additional Information:© 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science. The author is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which has supported her laboratory’s research on Fe(II) oxidation together with the Dreyfus Foundation and the NSF. The author thanks A. Poulain, J. D. Newman, and J. Peters for comments on the manuscript, and A. Bose for help in preparing the second fi gure.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Dreyfus FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5967
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130311-151426036
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:37452
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Mar 2013 21:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:47

Repository Staff Only: item control page