The Reactivity of Iron

  • Ralf R. Haese


For our understanding of interactions between living organisms and the solid earth it is fascinating to investigate the reactivity of iron at the interface of the bio- and geosphere. Similar to manganese (Chap. 11), iron occurs in two valence states as oxidized ferric iron, Fe(III), and reduced ferrous iron, Fe(II). Two principal biological processes are of importance: Microorganisms such as magnetotactic bacteria or phytoplankton (Chap. 2.2 and Sect. 7.3) depend on the uptake of iron as a prerequisite for their cell growth (assimilation). Others conserve energy from the reduction of Fe(III) to maintain their physiology (dissimilation). In this case, ferric iron serves as an electron acceptor which is also termed oxidant. Apart from biotic reactions, manifold abiotic reactions occur depending on thermodynamic and kinetic conditions.


Pore Water Marine Sediment Ferric Iron Iron Reduction Early Diagenesis 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

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  • Ralf R. Haese

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