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Book Chapter

Mineralogical and isotopic properties of biogenic nanocrystalline magnetites


Faivre,  Damien
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Faivre, D. (2007). Mineralogical and isotopic properties of biogenic nanocrystalline magnetites. In D. Schüler (Ed.), Microbiology Monographs (Vol. 3), Magnetoreception and Magnetosomes in Bacteria (pp. 175-196). Heidelberg, New York: Springer.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CEDE-E
Determination of the origin of magnetite nanocrystals is of primary importance because of their significance as biomarkers for extraterrestrial life and as environmental indicators. A critical analysis of the literature indicates that morphology and magnetic properties of the crystals do not necessarily quantitatively allow differentiation of biogenic from abiotic nanomagnetite crystals. Mineralogical properties of magnetosomes and of inorganic crystals such as size and shape factors and their distributions, morphology and defects and twinning are presented and compared in this chapter. Isotopic properties and the fractionation of oxygen and iron isotopes of the nanosized particles are reviewed. These properties are then examined as potential tools if the process and conditions formation responsible for their genesis are known. Exploration of properties such as crystal size distributions and oxygen isotope fractionation at given temperature seems to allow the discrimination of biogenic from abiotic nanocrystals of magnetite.