Iron Bacteria Gallionella in Archean of India


This is the first report on the fossilized fibers found in the Archean banded manganese formations of the Chitradurga Greenstone Belt (2.8 Ga, South India), which are similar to the stalk fibers of modern Gallionella ferruginea Ehrenberg, 1838. We have therefore concluded that the intertwined and assembled stalk fibers provide indirect evidence for the presence of bacteria and biogenic mineral formation, but should not be considered as microorganisms.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1.


  1. 1

    Ankrah, D.A. and Søgaard, E.G., A review of biological iron removal, Proc. IWTC 13, 2009, pp. 999–1005.

  2. 2

    Chan, C.S., Fakra, S.C., Edwards, D.C., Emerson, D., and Banfield, J.F., Iron oxyhydroxide mineralization on microbial extracellular polysaccharides, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 2009, vol. 73, no. 13, pp. 3807–3818.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Hallbeck, L. and Pedersen, K., Culture parameters regulating stalk formation and growth rate of Gallionella ferruginea,J. Gen. Microbiol., 1990, vol. 136, no. 9, pp. 1675–1680.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Hallberg, R. and Ferris, F.G., Biomineralization by Gallionella,Geomicrobiol. J., 2004, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 325–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Katsoyiannis, I.A. and Zouboulis, A.I., Biological treatment of Mn(II) and Fe(II) containing groundwater: kinetic considerations and product characterization, Water Res., 2004, vol. 38, no. 7, pp. 1922–1932.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Li, Ch., Wang, Sh., Du, X., Cheng, X., Fu, M., Hou, N., and Li, D., Immobilization of iron- and manganese-oxidizing bacteria with a biofilm-forming bacterium for the effective removal of iron and manganese from groundwater, Bioresour. Technol., 2016, vol. 220, pp. 76–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Lütters-Czekalla, S., Lithoautotrophic growth of the iron bacterium Gallionella ferruginea with thiosulfate or sulfide as energy source, Arch. Microbiol., 1990, vol. 154, no. 5, pp. 417–421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Pacini, V.A., Ingallinella, A.M., and Sanguinetti, G., Removal of iron and manganese using biological roughing up flow filtration technology, Water Res., 2005, vol. 39, no. 18, pp. 4463–4475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Piazza, A., Casalini, L.C., Pacini, V.A., Sanguinetti, G., Ottado, J., and Gottig, N., Environmental bacteria involved in manganese(II) oxidation and removal from ground water, Front. Microbiol., 2019, vol. 10, Art. 119, pp. 1–13.

  10. 10

    Qin, S., Ma, F., Huang, P., and Yang, J., Fe(II) and Mn(II) removal from drilled well water: a case study from a biological treatment unit in Harbin, Desalination, 2009, vol. 245, nos. 1–3, pp. 183–193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Ridgway, H.F., Means, E.G., and Olson, B.H., Iron bacteria in drinking-water systems: elemental analysis of Gallionella stalks, using X-ray energy-dispersive microanalysis, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 1981, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 288–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Suzuki, T., Hashimoto, H., Matsumoto, N., Furutani, M., Kunoh, H., and Takada, J., Nanometer-scale visualization and structural analysis of the inorganic/organic hybrid structure of Gallionella ferruginea twisted stalks, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 2011, vol. 77, no. 9, pp. 2877–2881.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Suzuki, T., Hashimoto, H., Itadani, A., Matsumoto, N., Kunoh, H., and Takada, J., Silicon and phosphorus linkage with iron via oxygen in the amorphous matrix of Gallionella ferruginea stalks, Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 2012, vol. 78, no. 1, pp. 236–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Vatter, A.E. and Wolfe, R.S., Electron microscopy of Gallionella ferruginea,J. Bacteriol., 1956, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 248–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The author thanks A.Yu. Rozanov, E.A. Zhegallo, O.S. Samylina, and G.T. Ushatinskaya. The author is grateful to everyone who helped to carry out this work and participated in the discussion of the results, especially A.B. Vrevsky who provided rock samples for this study and L.V. Zaitseva for assistance in the studies with a Zeiss EVO 50 electron microscope.


This study was supported by the Program no. 17 of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences (“The Evolution of the Organic World. The Role and Effect of Planetary Processes”, Subprogram I “Development of Life and Biosphere Processes”), by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project no. 20-04-00043), and by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. M. Astafieva.

Additional information

Translated by A. Panyushkina

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Astafieva, M.M. Iron Bacteria Gallionella in Archean of India. Paleontol. J. 54, 215–219 (2020).

Download citation


  • Archean
  • banded manganese formations (BMnF)
  • banded iron formations (BIF)
  • bacteria
  • microorganisms
  • stalks
  • fibers
  • Gallionella ferruginea
  • mineral formation
  • iron and manganese precipitation