Electron Transfer Processes in Anoxic Aquifers

Research Group FOR 580 of the DFG

Speaker: Prof. Dr. S. Peiffer, Univ. of Bayreuth

Limited supply of oxygen implies that anaerobic processes play a major role for the decomposition of organic matter in aquifers compared to aerobic processes.

Knowledge about the mechanisms and pathways of electron flow under these conditions is therefore crucial, in particular with respect to fundamental questions such as drinking water supply or contaminant degradation. Our present understanding of the underlying microbial and chemical processes and their interaction, however, is only rudimentary.

This Research Group therefore aims to establish principal concepts about the pathways and control of electron transfer processes in anoxic aquifers. Of particular relevance is the element iron which is the predominant redox sensitive species in most aquifers and which is closely linked to the redox cycles of the elements C, N, and S. Due to its chemical properties, iron undergoes a wide number of transformation reactions in the environment, which makes it an important reactant in redox reactions.

In this Research Group we intend to resolve the metabolic network related to the electron transfer on ferric oxides which we attribute a key role for the understanding of ground-water biogeochemistry.