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Nontronite and microbes were detected in the surface layers of deep-sea sediments from Iheya Basin, Okinawa Trough, Japan. Nontronite, an Fe-rich smectite mineral, was embedded in acidic polysaccharides that were exuded by microbial cells and electron microscopy showed that the nontronite layers were apparently oriented in the polysaccharide materials. We propose that the formation of nontronite was induced by the accumulation of Si and Fe ions from the ambient seawater and that extracellulardoi:10.1346/ccmn.2001.0490403 fatcat:w3qsq63gpzgmhlda65b4rqzejy