The next step in our increasingly complex model of the mineral-water interface addresses the question of how organic matter or microbial biofilm coatings impact the reactions of mineral surfaces with trace levels of heavy metals. Close links exist among biological activity, the organic matter generated by this activity, and the mineralogy and geochemistry of the elements involved in low-temperature processes. Biological activity has an enormous impact on mineral-water interfacial processes. For example, bacteria accelerate Fe oxidation reactions in iron sulphides and arsenides (e.g., Vaughan and Lloyd, 2011), whereas other micro-organisms favour the reduction of Fe(III) in Fe-(oxyhydr)oxides...

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