First evidence for the presence of iron oxidizing zetaproteobacteria at the levantine continental margins

Maxim Rubin-Blum, Gilad Antler, Rami Tsadok, Eli Shemesh, James A. Austin, Dwight F. Coleman, Beverly N. Goodman-Tchernov, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Dan Tchernov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the 2010-2011 E/V Nautilus exploration of the Levantine basin's sediments at the depth of 300-1300 m, densely patched orange-yellow flocculent mats were observed at various locations along the continental margin of Israel. Cores from the mat and the control locations were collected by remotely operated vehicle system (ROV) operated by the E/V Nautilus team. Microscopic observation and phylogenetic analysis of microbial 16S and 23S rRNA gene sequences indicated the presence of zetaproteobacterial stalk forming Mariprofundus spp. - like prokaryotes in the mats. Bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing determined that zetaproteobacterial populations were a dominant fraction of microbial community in the biofilm. We show for the first time that zetaproteobacterial may thrive at the continental margins, regardless of crustal iron supply, indicating significant fluxes of ferrous iron to the sediment-water interface. In light of this discovery, we discuss the potential bioavailability of sediment-water interface iron for organisms in the overlying water column.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere91456
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the European Commission FP7 research infrastructure initiative program, “Assemble 227799,” for partial support of this project. This research used samples and data provided by the E/V Nautilus Exploration Program – expeditions, NA009 and NA019. The authors would like to thank all individuals who helped during the expedition, including onboard technical and scientific personnel, and the captain and crew of the E/V Nautilus. We also thank the reviewers for constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Supplementary information is available at Plos ONE website. All authors of this manuscript certify that they qualify for authorship because of substantial contribution to the work submitted. The authors declare that this manuscript has not been published nor is under simultaneous consideration for publication elsewhere. The authors agree to transfer the copyright to the Plos ONE journal to be effective if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication and that the manuscript will not be published elsewhere in any other language without the consent of the Plos ONE journal.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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