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Isolation and characterization of Desulfovibrio growing on hydrogen plus sulfate as the sole energy source

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Two sulfate reducing bacteria (Madison and Marburg strains) that grew on H2 plus sulfate in a mineral salts medium that contained acetate and CO2 as sole carbon source were isolated from diverse environments. During growth in this medium 4.2 mol of H2 were consumed per mol of sulfate reduced to sulfide. Acetate was required for biosynthetic purposes only. Approximately 70% of the cell carbon synthesized was derived from acetate and 30% from CO2. Acetate was not involved in dissimilatory sulfate reduction.

Growth of the bacteria on H2 plus sulfate was linear rather than exponential, and a doubling time at the beginning of linear growth of approximately 3 h was observed. The optimal growth temperature was found to be near 35° C. Cultures could be grown up to a density of 500 mg cells (dry weight) per liter. Growth yield studies demonstrated that between 4 and 5 g of cells (dry weight) were formed per mol of sulfate reduced to sulfide.

The chemolithotrophically growing sulfate reducing isolates were identified as Desulfovibrio species by being obligately anaerobic, gram negative, non spore forming vibrios that contained desulfoviridin and cytochrome c3 (350–450 nmol/g protein). The organisms were found to be monopolarly and monotrichously flagellated. The abilities of the two strains to grow on electron donors other than H2 and to use electron acceptors other than sulfate differed considerably. The DNA base composition of the Madison and Marburg strains were 60 and 63.5 mol % GC, respectively. The taxonomic status of the strains was discussed.

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Badziong, W., Thauer, R.K. & Zeikus, J.G. Isolation and characterization of Desulfovibrio growing on hydrogen plus sulfate as the sole energy source. Arch. Microbiol. 116, 41–49 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00408732

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Key words

  • Desulfovibrio
  • Chemolithotrophic growth
  • H2-Oxidation
  • Sulfate-reduction
  • Growth yields
  • Cell carbon synthesis
  • Acetate assimilation
  • Desulfoviridin
  • Cytochrome c3