Osmotrophic biofilms: from modern to ancient

Martin Brasier, Richard H T Callow, Latha Menon, Alexander Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We here explore the potential of nonphotosynthetic microbes as significant players in the formation and preservation of structures such as microbial mats and soil-like networks. In particular, we focus on organisms such as actinobacteria and fungi, known to feed by osmotic absorption of preformed organic compounds, which we collectively refer to as “osmotrophs” here. We show that they have a fossil record that may be traced far back into the Proterozoic in a range of sedimentary environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicrobial Mats
Subtitle of host publicationModern and Ancient Microorganisms in Stratified Systems, Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology
EditorsJ Seckbach, A Oren
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789048137992
ISBN (Print)9789048137985
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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