Original paper

Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 168, Issue 4, pp 297-301

First online:

Thiosulfate as a metabolic product: the bacterial fermentation of taurine

  • Karin DengerAffiliated withFakultät für Biologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany Tel. +49-7531-884247; Fax +49-7531-882966 email: alasdair.cook@uni-konstanz.de
  • , Heike LaueAffiliated withFakultät für Biologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany Tel. +49-7531-884247; Fax +49-7531-882966 email: alasdair.cook@uni-konstanz.de
  • , A. M. CookAffiliated withFakultät für Biologie, Universität Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany Tel. +49-7531-884247; Fax +49-7531-882966 email: alasdair.cook@uni-konstanz.de

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Abstract

Thiosulfate (S2O3 2–) is a natural product that is widely utilized in natural ecosystems as an electron sink or as an electron donor. However, the major biological source(s) of this thiosulfate is unknown. We present the first report that taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonate), the major mammalian solute, is subject to fermentation. This bacterial fermentation was found to be catalyzed by a new isolate, strain GKNTAU, a strictly anaerobic, gram-positive, motile rod that formed subterminal spores. Thiosulfate was a quantitative fermentation product. The other fermentation products were ammonia and acetate, and all could be formed by cell-free extracts.

Key words Taurine Fermentation Anaerobic desulfonation Thiosulfate