MICROORGANISMS AND MOONMILK SPELEOTHEMS FORMATION IN KARST CAVES

Л.М. Кондратьева, О.С. Полевская

Abstract


Geologists and speleologists investigate karst caves by observing their inner views on macroscopic scales. To assess the course of biogeochemical processes occurring in caves on a microscopic scale at interfaces between aqueous and rocky phases an experimental study of calcium carbonates transformation by microbial complexes obtained from moonmilk speleothems found in Snezhnaya Cave (Abkhazia) has been carried out. Strong microbial adhesion due to polymeric matrix production and biofilm formation on glass surfaces were observed on the 30th day of culture at 23 °C in the presence of yeast extract irrespective of added calcite levels. The most active aggregation of calcium carbonate crystals and their dissolution occurred under the effect of mucous polymers. The complete dissolution of 1 g/l calcite by bacterial moonmilk community was observed at 4 °C. Scanning electron microscopy revealed different stages of biofilm formation and calcite dissolution. Added organic contaminants stimulated the dissolution of crystals. Prerequisites for calcification of the porous space of karst caves under the effects of environmental factors are discussed.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24855/biosfera.v9i2.357

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