The rates of microbial Fe(III) reduction of three sizes of hematite nanoparticles by Geobacter sulfurreducens were measured under two H-2 partial pressures (0.01 and 1 atm) and three pH (7.0, 7.5, and 8.0) conditions. Hematite particles with mean primary particle sizes of 10,30, and 50 nm were synthesized by a novel aerosol method that allows tight control of the particle size distribution. The mass-normalized reduction rates of the 10 and 30 nm particles were comparable to each other and higher than the rate for the 50 nm particles. However, the surface area-normalized rate was highest for the 30 nm particles. Consistent with a previously published model, the reduction rates are likely to be proportional to the bacteria-hematite contact area and not to the total hematite surface area. Surface area-normalized iron reduction rates were higher than those reported in previous studies, which may be due to the sequestration of Fe(II) through formation of vivianite. Similar initial reduction rates were observed under all pH and H-2 conditions studied.
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