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Published November 2002 | public
Journal Article

Crystal morphology of MV-1 magnetite


Intracellular magnetite (Fe_3O_4) crystals produced by magnetotactic bacteria strain MV-1 are in the single-domain size range, and are chemically pure. We have previously suggested that they exhibit an unusual crystal habit described as truncated hexa-octahedral. Such a crystal morphology has not been demonstrated for any inorganic population of magnetite, nor would it be expected, given considerations of symmetry and free energy. By inference, this morphology is a physical signature of a biological origin. Here we report data from transmission electron microscope (TEM) tomography of such crystals isolated from magnetotactic bacteria, which confirm the unusual geometry, originally proposed from classical TEM tilt imaging.

Additional Information

© 2002 American Mineralogist. Manuscript received March 5, 2002. Manuscript accepted August 31, 2002. Manuscript handled by Robert F. Dymek. We thank O. Clemett and N. Keprta for valuable suggestions. The manuscript was improved by the insightful comments of the reviews and the editor. This work was funded and supported by NASA's Astrobiology Institute and the Exobiology program.

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