Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 9, pp 3637–3649 | Cite as

Magnetosomes: biogenic iron nanoparticles produced by environmental bacteria

  • Anissa Dieudonné
  • David Pignol
  • Sandra PrévéralEmail author


The scientific community’s interest in magnetotactic bacteria has increased substantially in recent decades. These prokaryotes have the particularity of synthesizing nanomagnets, called magnetosomes. The majority of research is based on several scientific questions. Where do magnetotactic bacteria live, what are their characteristics, and why are they magnetic? What are the molecular phenomena of magnetosome biomineralization and what are the physical characteristics of magnetosomes? In addition to scientific curiosity to better understand these stunning organisms, there are biotechnological opportunities to consider. Magnetotactic bacteria, as well as magnetosomes, are used in medical applications, for example cancer treatment, or in environmental ones, for example bioremediation. In this mini-review, we investigated all the aspects mentioned above and summarized the currently available knowledge.


Magnetotactic bacteria Magnetosomes Nano-crystals Biomineralization Biotechnology 



The authors would like to thank Damien Faivre for his scientific contribution, Caroline Monteil for her help with the genomic data representation, and Marina Siponen for careful reading of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR 7265, Aix Marseille Univ, CEA, CNRS, BIAM, LBCSaint Paul-Lez-DuranceFrance

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