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Applicant -- Biosignatures in Nanophase Iron Oxides and Hydroxides

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Biosignatures may take the form of organic signatures, mineral signatures, biopatterns, microscopic body fossils, or isotope signatures. Of these, mineral signatures may prove to be the most robust target for remote detection. For hyperthermophilic iron reducing microbes, which represent one of the oldest and least evolved branches of the phylogenic tree of life, these mineral signatures would take the form of spectrally distinct nanophase iron oxides or hydroxides (iron NPOs). However, in order to differentiate such signatures, the spectral variability of iron NPOs must be understood. Furthermore, because iron NPOs impose specific constrains upon the techniques used to analyze them, multiple analysis techniques must be used in tandem for their characterization. In this presentation, the spectral and morphological characteristics of a suite of synthetic nanophase iron oxides and hydroxides are discussed within this context and then compared to biogenically produced iron NPOs from P. islandicum and P. delaneyi.

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