Siderophore production and function in the geosphere: experimental studies and field measurements of mineral weathering and biomineralization.
Microorganisms are known to affect mineral weathering rates and the mobilization of essential and toxic metals in the environment. They can release strong organic complex chelators, so-called siderophores, which have a high affinity for metals. These low-molecular mass dissolved organic molecules are often specific for certain microorganisms or plants and allow them to gain a selective growth advantage in environments, where the availability of metal nutrients is limited. Siderophores can have a critical role in regulating biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial and marine systems, but the details of the molecular-scale processes and their effect on macroscale biogeochemical cycling are not well established. This study aims at understanding the relationships between siderophore production and function and their influence on biochemically induced weathering and biomineralisation of iron-bearing minerals like magnetite in terrestrial and marine environments. Field and experimental studies will be conducted to determine siderophore composition and concentration, and their relationship to microbial community composition and activity.
This is a fully funded four year PhD position under the joint supervision of Dr. Sara Holmström, Dr. Volker Brüchert, and Prof. Nils Holm. The successful applicant will study the interactions of microbes with the global earth with focus on the production and the role of biogenic siderophores in biogeochemical processes. Related activities include both laboratory and field work.
Application Deadline : 26 March 2011
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