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Anaerobic degradation of isovalerate by a defined methanogenic coculture

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Isovalerate-oxidizing strictly aneerobic bacteria were isolated from marine sediment and sewage sludge in coculture with Desulfovibrio sp. Cells stained Gram positive and behaved Gram positive also in Gram classification with KOH. Isovalerate degradation depended on interspecies hydrogen transfer to syntrophic hydrogen-oxidizing sulfate reducers or methanogens. Isovalerate was the only substrate utilized and was fermented to 3 mol acetate and 1 mol hydrogen per mol substrate. The degradation pathway was studied by enzyme assays in crude cell extracts, and included acetyl-CoA dependent activation of isovalerate, oxidation to methylcrotonyl-CoA and carboxylation to methylgluta-conyl-CoA which is hydrated and cleaved to acetoacetate and acetyl-CoA. Studies with inhibitors and ionophores suggest that energy conservation with this organism depends on either acetate efflux-driven proton symport or on an ion-gradient driven carboxylation mechanism.

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Correspondence to Bernhard Schink.

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Stieb, M., Schink, B. Anaerobic degradation of isovalerate by a defined methanogenic coculture. Arch. Microbiol. 144, 291–295 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00410965

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Key words

  • Syntrophic degradation
  • Methanogenesis
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Isovalerate
  • Energy metabolism