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Interaction of temperature, salinity and extracellular polymeric substances controls trace element incorporation into tufa calcite

Rogerson, Mike; Pedley, H. Martyn; Greenway, Gillian M.; Wadhawan, Jay D.


Mike Rogerson

H. Martyn Pedley

Gillian M. Greenway


The influence of extracellular polymeric substances on carbonate mineral growth in natural settings remains one of the most poorly understood contributors to the growth of non-marine carbonate sediments. The influences of these materials are complicated by their association with living cells creating local microenvironments via metabolism and enzyme production, and by our uncertainty about the extracellular polymeric substances materials themselves. Different mixtures of extracellular polymeric substance molecules may behave in different ways, and differences in the local physical environment may alter how the mixtures influence mineral formation, and even result in different patterns of polymerization. Here, the influence of extracellular polymeric substances on calcite precipitation rate and Mg/Cacalcite in the absence of cells is investigated using extracts of extracellular polymeric substances from temperate fluvial tufa biofilm. The influence is complex, with the concentration of extracellular polymeric substances in solution altering deposition rate and trace element incorporation. Moreover, the results show interaction of the presence/absence of extracellular polymeric substances and both temperature and salinity. However, despite extracting extracellular polymeric substances from the same parent sample, a uniform influence was not found in these experiments, implying that the mixture is sufficiently variable within a sample for microenvironments within the biofilm to either promote or inhibit mineralization. As sedimentologists, we can no longer take the view that extracellular polymeric substances are a bystander material, or that they have a single set of coherent and predictable or intuitive influences. Rather, the emphasis must be on investigating the specific mixtures present in nature, and their complex and dynamic interaction with both mineral surfaces and hydrochemical conditions.


Rogerson, M., Pedley, H. M., Greenway, G. M., & Wadhawan, J. D. (in press). Interaction of temperature, salinity and extracellular polymeric substances controls trace element incorporation into tufa calcite. The Depositional Record,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 21, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 23, 2021
Journal Depositional Record
Electronic ISSN 2055-4877
Publisher International Association of Sedimentologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


Accepted article (9.1 Mb)

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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