Deposits of lacustrine calcite are important records of environmental changes. In order to interpret these archives, knowledge about the origin of the calcite is essential. It has been accepted that calcite precipitation can be induced by bacteria and algae. However, the detailed mechanisms are still unclear. This review summarizes what is known about the interactions between calcite precipitation and the autotrophic picoplankton. We consider findings from both field and laboratory studies. Field studies show that calcite precipitation in oligotrophic lakes is strongly linked with picocyanobacteria blooms. Laboratory experiments led to the formulation of the mechanism of precipitation induced by microalga. Experiments also showed that precipitation induced by picocyanobacteria is influenced by various factors including the uptake of inorganic carbon and the structure of the cell walls. Recent studies indicate that the influence of environmental conditions like the composition of lake water has to be taken into account as well. We conclude that in situ observations of precipitation processes at picoplankton cells under controlled conditions are needed to improve our understanding of mineral bacteria interaction.
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Vol. 33 • No. 8