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Desulfuromonas acetoxidans gen. nov. and sp. nov., a new anaerobic, sulfur-reducing, acetate-oxidizing bacterium


Anaerobic sea or fresh water media with acetate and elemental sulfur yielded enrichments of a new type of strictly anaerobic, rod-shaped, laterally flagellated, Gram-negative bacterium. Three pure culture-strains from different sulfide-containing sea water sources were characterized in detail and are described as a new genus and species Desulfuromonas acetoxidans.

The new bacterium is unable to ferment organic substances; it obtains energy for growth by anaerobic sulfur respiration. Acetate, ethanol or propanol can serve as carbon and energy source for growth; their oxidation to CO2 is stoichiometrically linked to the reduction of elemental sulfur to sulfide. Organic disulfide compounds, malate or fumarate are the only other electron acceptors used. Butanol and pyruvate are used in the presence of malate only; no other organic compounds are utilized. Biotin is required as a growth factor. The following dry weight yields per mole of substrate are obtained: in the presence of sulfur: 4.21 g on acetate, 9.77 g on ethanol; in the presence of malate: 16.5 g on acetate, 34.2 g on ethanol and 46.2 g on pyruvate. Accumulations of cells are pink; cell suspensions exhibit absorption spectra resembling those of c-type cytochromes (abs. max. at 419, 523 and 553 nm). Malate-ethanol grown cells contain a b-type cytochrome in addition.

In the presence of acetate, ethanol or propanol, Desulfuromonas strains form robust growing syntrophic mixed cultures with phototrophic green sulfur bacteria.

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Dedicated to Prof. Roger Y. Stanier on the occasion of his 60th barthday

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Pfennig, N., Biebl, H. Desulfuromonas acetoxidans gen. nov. and sp. nov., a new anaerobic, sulfur-reducing, acetate-oxidizing bacterium. Arch. Microbiol. 110, 3–12 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00416962

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Key words

  • Desulfuromonas acetoxidans
  • Species description
  • Anaerobic acetate oxidation
  • Sulfur reduction
  • Ethanol
  • Propanol
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Cytochromes
  • Growth yield