Mechanism of biomineralization induced by bacillus subtilis J2 and characteristics of the biominerals

Zuozhen Han*, Jiajia Wang, Hui Zhao, Maurice E. Tucker, Yanhong Zhao, Guangzhen Wu, Jingxuan Zhou, Junxiao Yin, Hucheng Zhang, Xinkang Zhang, Huaxiao Yan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
194 Downloads (Pure)


Biomineralization induced by microorganisms has become a hot spot in the field of carbonate sedimentology; however, the mechanisms involved still need to be explored. In this study, the bacterium Bacillus subtilis J2 (GenBank MG575432) was used to induce the precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals at Mg/Ca molar ratios of 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Bacillus subtilis J2 bacteria released ammonia to increase pH, but the ammonia released only made the pH increase to 8.25. Carbonic anhydrase was also produced to catalyze the hydration of carbon dioxide, and this process released carbonate and bicarbonate ions that not only increased pH but also elevated carbonate supersaturation. The biominerals formed at a Mg/Ca molar ratio of 0 were spherulitic, elongated, dumbbell-shaped, and irregularly rhombohedral calcite; at a Mg/Ca molar ratio of 3, the biominerals were calcite and aragonite, the weight ratio of calcite decreased from 26.7% to 15.6%, and that of aragonite increased from 73.3% to 84.4% with increasing incubation time. At higher Mg/Ca molar ratios, the biominerals were aragonite, and the crystallinity and thermal stability of aragonite decreased with increasing Mg/Ca molar ratios. FTIR results showed that many organic functional groups were present on/within the biominerals, such as C-O-C, N-H, C=O, O-H, and C-H. HRTEM-SAED examination of the ultra-thin slices of B. subtilis J2 bacteria showed that nano-sized minerals with poor crystal structure had grown or been adsorbed on the EPS coating. The EPS of the B. subtilis J2 strain contained abundant glutamic acid and aspartic acid, which could be deprotonated in an alkaline condition to adsorb Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions; this made EPS act as the nucleation sites. This study may provide some references for further understanding of the mechanism of biomineralization induced by microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number218
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2019


  • Amino acid
  • Ammonia
  • Bacillus subtilis
  • Biomineralization
  • Carbonic anhydrase
  • Crystallinity
  • Mg/Ca ratio
  • Nucleation site
  • Organic functional group
  • Thermal stability

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