Interactions between microbes and minerals can play an important role in metal transformations (i.e. changes to an element's valence state, coordination chemistry, or both), which can ultimately affect that element's mobility. Mineralogy affects microbial metabolism and ecology in a system; microbes, in turn, can affect the system's mineralogy. Increasingly, synchrotron-based X-ray experiments are in routine use for determining an element's valence state and coordination chemistry, as well as for examining the role of microbes in metal transformations.

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