Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Manganese Oxidation

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5403-1

Chemical Formula

Mn, MnO2


Manganese (Mn) is a transition metal present at trace levels in the modern ocean where it cycles between three oxidation states, +2, +3, and +4. Mn is a cofactor in enzymes critical for life, including the oxygen-evolving complex of photosystem II involved in oxygenic photosynthesis and superoxide dismutase (SOD) that degrades oxygen radicals responsible for oxidative stress. Mn(IV) forms a suite of Mn oxide minerals found within marine ferromanganese crusts and nodules that scavenge trace metals and record paleoredox conditions throughout Earth’s history. Mn oxides form within a wide range of environments, including deserts, and on Mars as rock varnish and crusts.


Manganese (Mn) oxides are widespread on Earth, occurring as particles or grain coatings, rock varnish, cave deposits, and ferromanganese crusts and nodules. Rocks and sediments enriched in Mn oxides have been observed on Mars (Lanza et al. 2014) and in early Earth strata (Crerar...


Metal Bacteria Fungi Metabolism Oxygen reduction Desert varnish Ferromanganese crusts Ferromanganese nodules Sediments Minerals Redox 
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References and Further Reading

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA