Preprint version. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 16, Issue 7, July 1, 1989, pages 665-668.
An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright © 1989 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/GL016i007p00665 .
We compare the magnetic properties of fine‐grained magnetite produced by two newly isolated anaerobic bacteria, a magnetotactic bacterium (MV‐1) and a dissimilatory iron‐reducing bacterium (GS‐15). Although room‐temperature magnetic properties are generally different between the two microorganisms, MV‐1 and GS‐15 magnetites can be most easily distinguished by the temperature variation of saturation remanence obtained at liquid helium temperatures. Magnetite produced by MV‐1 displays a sharp discontinuity in intensity at 100 K related to the Verwey transition. Magnetite produced by GS‐15 displays a gradual decrease in intensity with temperature due to the progressive unblocking of magnetization. The differing behavior is due exclusively to different grain size distributions produced by these microorganisms. MV‐1 produces magnetite with a narrow grain size distribution that is within the stable single domain size range at room temperature and below. GS‐15 produces magnetite with a wide grain size distribution extending into the superparamagnetic (SPM) size range. Our results show that a substantial fraction of particles produced by GS‐15 are SPM at room temperature.