Evidence of giant sulphur bacteria in Neoproterozoic phosphorites

  title={Evidence of giant sulphur bacteria in Neoproterozoic phosphorites},
  author={Jake V. Bailey and Samantha B. Joye and Karen M. Kalanetra and Beverly E. Flood and Frank A. Corsetti},
In situ phosphatization and reductive cell division have recently been discovered within the vacuolate sulphur-oxidizing bacteria. Here we show that certain Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation (about 600 million years bp) microfossils, including structures previously interpreted as the oldest known metazoan eggs and embryos, can be interpreted as giant vacuolate sulphur bacteria. Sulphur bacteria of the genus Thiomargarita have sizes and morphologies similar to those of many Doushantuo… 

The role of microbes in the formation of modern and ancient phosphatic mineral deposits

It is demonstrated that polyphosphate utilization by sulfide-oxidizing bacteria results in the rapid precipitation of apatite – providing at least a partial mechanism to explain the close spatial correlation between accumulations of sulfides and phosphorites.

Phylogenetic and morphologic complexity of giant sulphur bacteria

A summary of the efforts made and achievements accomplished in the past years of the large sulphur bacteria is presented, and perspectives for investigating the heterogeneity and possible evolutionary developments in this extraordinary group of bacteria are given.

Dimorphism in methane seep-dwelling ecotypes of the largest known bacteria

Abundant growth of attached Thiomargarita-like bacteria on the integuments of gastropods and other seep fauna provides not only a novel ecological niche for these giant bacteria, but also for animals that may benefit from epibiont colonization.

Filamentous sulfur bacteria preserved in modern and ancient phosphatic sediments: implications for the role of oxygen and bacteria in phosphogenesis

It is suggested that sulfur bacteria, which are known to mediate the precipitation of apatite in modern sediments, were also present in certain phosphogenic settings for at least the last 600 million years.

Evidence of oxygenic phototrophy in ancient phosphatic stromatolites from the Paleoproterozoic Vindhyan and Aravalli Supergroups, India

It is suggested that the activity of oxygenic phototrophs may have been significant for the formation of apatite in both Vindhyan and Aravalli stromatolites, mainly by concentrating phosphate and creating steep diurnal redox gradients within mat pore spaces, promoting apatites precipitation.

Experimental taphonomy of giant sulphur bacteria: implications for the interpretation of the embryo-like Ediacaran Doushantuo fossils

The hypothesis that giant sulphur bacteria are an appropriate interpretative model for the embryo-like Doushantuo fossils does not support the hypothesis, but sulphuracteria may have mediated fossil mineralization and may provide a potential bacterial analogue for other macroscopic Precambrian remains.

Microbial Diversity in Phosphate Rock and Phosphogypsum

This survey has underscored the importance of key microbial genera or consortia associated with at least one of these phenotypes: phosphate solubilization, heavy metals tolerance, radiation resistance, sulfur oxidation—associated to polyphosphate stocking and sulfate reduction.



Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microfossils from a Proterozoic/Phanerozoic transition in China

Cherts of the Doushantuo Formation in the Yangtze Gorges, South China, contain a superbly preserved heterogeneous assemblage of bacteria, cyanobacteria, planktonic algae, submillimetre-sized burrows

Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

  • S. XiaoX. YuanA. Knoll
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2000
Evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates.

Dense populations of a giant sulfur bacterium in Namibian shelf sediments.

A previously unknown giant sulfur bacterium is abundant in sediments underlying the oxygen minimum zone of the Benguela Current upwelling system, and is closely related to the marine filamentous sulfur bacteria Thioploca, abundant in the up welling area off Chile and Peru.

Fossil preservation in the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo phosphorite Lagerstatte, South China.

The same processes that gave rise to Phanerozoic phosphatized Lagerstatten--phosphatic encrustation, and impregnation, probably mediated by microbial activity--effected soft-tissue preservation in the Doushantuo Lagerstatte.

Three-dimensional preservation of algae and animal embryos in a Neoproterozoic phosphorite

Embryos preserved in early cleavage stages indicate that the divergence of lineages leading to bilaterians may have occurred well before their macroscopic traces or body fossils appear in the geological record.

Novel vacuolate sulfur bacteria from the Gulf of Mexico reproduce by reductive division in three dimensions.

In sediment cores maintained at 4 degrees C, which undoubtedly experienced a diminishing flux of hydrogen sulfide over time, the Thiomargarita-like bacterium remained viable for up to 2 years, and each cell appeared to undergo one to three reductive divisions, perhaps as a dispersal strategy in the face of diminished availability of its putative electron donor.

Precambrian sponges with cellular structures

The fauna indicates that animals lived 40 to 50 million years before the Cambrian Explosion, and the presence of possible amphiblastula larva suggests that the calcareous sponges may have an extended history in the Late Precambrian.


Phosphorites of the uppermost Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation exposed at Weng'an, South China, contain globular microfossils characterized by distinctively sculpted outer coverings and precise patterns of cell division, which support their reinterpretation as the eggs and embryos of early animals.

Permineralized Fossils from the Terminal Proterozoic Doushantuo Formation, South China

Permineralized fossils of the terminal Proterozoic (600–550 Ma) Doushantuo Formation, China, provide an unusually clear window on biological diversity just before the Ediacaran radiation. In the

Precambrian animal life: Taphonomy of phosphatized metazoan embryos from southwest China

If internal sources of phosphate did indeed play a role in the phosphatization of these embryos, it may explain their prolific abundance in these rocks compared to other phosphatized fossils as well as indicating that metazoans lacking such internal phosphate sources were likely much more difficult to preserve.