Marine Biology

, Volume 115, Issue 2, pp 179–185 | Cite as

Sulfide-oxidizing bacteria in the burrowing echinoid, Echinocardium cordatum (Echinodermata)

  • A. Temara
  • C. de Ridder
  • J. G. Kuenen
  • L. A. Robertson


Symbiotic filamentous bacteria thrive in the intestinal caecum of the deposit-feeding echinoid Echinocardium cordatum. Specimens of E. cordatum were collected at Wimereux (Nord Pas-de-Calais, France) in 1991. Their symbiotic bacteria build nodules by forming multilayered mats around detrital particles that enter the caecum. The morphological features of the bacteria are those of Thiothrix, a sulfide-oxidizing genus. The filaments, which may form rosettes, are sheathed and made by a succession of hundreds of rod-shaped bacteria which store elemental sulfur in the presence of external sulfide. Live bacteria are restricted to the outer layers of the nodules. Their sulfide-oxidizing activity was investigated, using a Biological Oxygen Monitor, by measuring the O2-consumption when reduced sulfur compounds are provided. They oxidize thiosulfate and sulfide. Optimal sulfide oxidation occurs at intermediary pO2 (100 to 160 μM O2l-1). Spectrophotometry has confirmed that the sulfur content of the filamentous symbiotic sulfideoxidizing bacteria depends on the presence of external sulfide. This is the first report of symbiotic intradigestive Thiothrixspp.-like bacteria; it lengthens the list of symbioses between sulfide-oxidizing bacteria and invertebrates from sulfide-rich habitats.


Sulfide Spectrophotometry Sulfur Content Thiosulfate Sulfur Compound 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Temara
    • 1
  • C. de Ridder
    • 1
  • J. G. Kuenen
    • 2
  • L. A. Robertson
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie marineUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.Kluyver Laboratory of BiotechnologyDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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