Letter | Published:

The Rusting of Iron

Nature volume 74, page 586 (11 October 1906) | Download Citation



HAS anyone inquired whether the rusting of iron may not be associated with some micro-organisms? The facts that oxygen, water, and carbon dioxide are necessary; that iron does not rust when immersed in boiling water and then sealed up; that certain solutions are said to inhibit rusting (e.g. potassium ferrocyanide, a poison), and that certain other solutions encourage rusting (e.g. ammonium chloride and perhaps sea-water, compare the composition of plant-culture solutions); that iron is a constituent of chlorophyll, and that rusty nails sometimes cause blood-poisoning, all these facts suggest a case for inquiry, There is, I think, an iron bacterium noted in some of the bacteriological books. The precipitation of iron carbonate might conceivably hold a place in the life of some organism corresponding to the precipitation of calcium carbonate by foraminifera.

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  1. 12 St. Mary's, York, October 1.



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