Cyanobacteria as biocatalysts for carbonate mineralization

Nina A. Kamennaya, Caroline M. Ajo-Franklin, Trent Northen, Christer Jansson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Microbial carbonate mineralization is widespread in nature and among microorganisms, and of vast ecological and geological importance. However, our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger and control processes such as calcification, i.e., mineralization of CO2 to calcium carbonate (CaCO3), is limited and literature on cyanobacterial calcification is oftentimes bewildering and occasionally controversial. In cyanobacteria, calcification may be intimately associated with the carbon dioxide-(CO2) concentrating mechanism (CCM), a biochemical system that allows the cells to raise the concentration of CO2 at the site of the carboxylating enzyme ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) up to 1000-fold over that in the surrounding medium. A comprehensive understanding of biologically induced carbonate mineralization is important for our ability to assess its role in past, present, and future carbon cycling, interpret paleontological data, and for evaluating the process as a means for biological carbon capture and storage (CCS). In this review we summarize and discuss the metabolic, physiological and structural features of cyanobacteria that may be involved in the reactions leading to mineral formation and precipitation, present a conceptual model of cyanobacterial calcification, and, finally, suggest practical applications for cyanobacterial carbonate mineralization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-364
Number of pages27
Issue number4
StatePublished - 29 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcification
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Cyanobacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyanobacteria as biocatalysts for carbonate mineralization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this