Mineral transformations and biogeochemical cycles: A geomycological perspective

Geoffrey M. Gadd, Euan P. Burford, Marina Fomina, Karrie Melville

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Citations (Scopus)


Rocks and minerals represent a vast reservoir of elements, many of them are essential to life. Bulk biological metals, such as Na, K, Mg and Ca, are among the eight most abundant elements in the Earth's crust and together make up 11.06% of crustal rock (Fraústo da Silva & Williams, 1993; Gadd, 2004). Rocks and minerals also include essential metals (e.g. Mn, Mo, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn) and, crucial for microbial and plant growth, phosphorus. Many elements have essential functional potential for the synthesis of biological macromolecules and energy capture (e.g. C, N, H, O, P, S), for the transmission of information (e.g. Na, K, Ca), for catalysis (e.g. Fe, Cu, Zn, Mo), for transfer of electrons (e.g. Fe), and for building solid structures (e.g. Ca, P, Si) (Fraústo da Silva & Williams, 1993). All these elements must be released into bioavailable forms that can be assimilated by the biota. Their release occurs via weathering of rock substrates and their mineral constituents through physical (mechanical), chemical and biological processes (Burford italic., 2003). Near-surface weathering of rocks and minerals (sub-aerial and sub-soil environments) often involves an interaction between all three types (White italic., 1992). In addition to mobilization of essential nutrients during lithospheric weathering, non-essential toxic metals (e.g. Cs, Al, Cd, Hg, Pb) may also be mobilized (Gadd, 1993, 2001a, b).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFungi in the Environment
PublisherUNESCO/Cambridge University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9780511541797
ISBN (Print)0521850290, 9780521850292
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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