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Long-distance electron transport occurs globally in marine sediments
Burdorf, L.D.W.; Tramper, A.; Seitaj, D.; Meire, L.; Hidalgo-Martinez, S.; Zetsche, E.-M.; Boschker, H.T.S.; Meysman, F.J.R. (2017). Long-distance electron transport occurs globally in marine sediments. Biogeosciences 14(3): 683-701. https://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-683-2017
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170; e-ISSN 1726-4189, meer
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  • Hidalgo-Martinez, S., meer
  • Zetsche, E.-M., meer
  • Boschker, H.T.S., meer
  • Meysman, F.J.R., meer

Abstract
    Recently, long filamentous bacteria have been reported conducting electrons over centimetre distances in marine sediments. These so-called cable bacteria perform an electrogenic form of sulfur oxidation, whereby long-distance electron transport links sulfide oxidation in deeper sediment horizons to oxygen reduction in the upper millimetres of the sediment. Electrogenic sulfur oxidation exerts a strong impact on the local sediment biogeochemistry, but it is currently unknown how prevalent the process is within the seafloor. Here we provide a state-of-the-art assessment of its global distribution by combining new field observations with previous reports from the literature. This synthesis demonstrates that electrogenic sulfur oxidation, and hence microbial long-distance electron transport, is a widespread phenomenon in the present-day seafloor. The process is found in coastal sediments within different climate zones (off the Netherlands, Greenland, the USA, Australia) and thrives on a range of different coastal habitats (estuaries, salt marshes, mangroves, coastal hypoxic basins, intertidal flats). The combination of a widespread occurrence and a strong local geochemical imprint suggests that electrogenic sulfur oxidation could be an important, and hitherto overlooked, component of the marine cycle of carbon, sulfur and other elements.

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