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Propionate assimilation by methanogenic bacteria


Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus, and Methanosarcina barkeri were found to assimilate propionate when growing on media supplemented with this volatile fatty acid. [1-14C]propionate was almost exclusively incorporated into isoleucine, only C-2 of which became labelled. Assimilation of propionate by M. thermoautotrophicum was specifically inhibited by isoleucine, by 2-methylbutyrate, and by 2-oxobutyrate, whereas there was little or no effect by leucine, valine, butyrate, and acetate. This finding indicates that propionate assimilation is under regulatory control by intermediates and/or the product of isoleucine biosynthesis.

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Correspondence to Rudolf K. Thauer.

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Eikmanns, B., Jaenchen, R. & Thauer, R.K. Propionate assimilation by methanogenic bacteria. Arch. Microbiol. 136, 106–110 (1983).

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Key words

  • Propionate assimilation
  • Isoleucine biosynthesis
  • Methanogenic bacteria
  • Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum
  • Methanobrevibacter arboriphilus
  • Methanosarcina barkeri
  • 2-Methylbutyrate assimilation
  • Regulation of isoleucine biosynthesis