Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 134, Issue 4, pp 286–294 | Cite as

Studies on dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria that decompose fatty acids

III. Characterization of the filamentous gliding Desulfonema limicola gen. nov. sp. nov., and Desulfonema magnum sp. nov.
  • Friedrich Widdel
  • Gert-Wieland Kohring
  • Frank Mayer
Original Papers


Gliding motility, ultrastructure and nutrition of two newly isolated filamentous sulfate-reducing bacteria, strains 5ac10 and 4be13, were investigated. The filaments were always attached to surfaces. Growth was supported by addition of insoluble aluminium phosphate or agar as substrata for gliding movement. Electron microscopy of ultrathin sections revealed cell walls characteristic of Gramnegative bacteria; the undulated structure of the outer membrane may pertain to the translocation mechanism. Intracytoplasmic membranes were present. Acetate, higher fatty acids, succinate or fumarate served as electron donors and carbon sources. Strain 5ac10 grew also with lactate, but not with benzoate that was used only by strain 4be13. Strain 5ac10 was able to grow slowly on H2 plus CO2 or formate in the presence of sulfate without additional organic carbon source. The capacity of complete oxidation was shown by stoichiometric measurements with acetate plus sulfate. Both strains contained b- and c-type cytochromes. Desulfoviridin was detected only in strain 5ac10. The two filamentous gliding sulfate reducers are described as new species of a new genus, Desulfonema limicola and Desulfonema magnum.

Key words

Filamentous anaerobes Gliding motility Cell wall structure Anaerobic acetate oxidation Fatty acids Anaerobic benzoate oxidation Sulfate reduction Desulfoviridin Cytochromes Genus Desulfonema 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akagi JM, Adams V (1973) Isolation of a bisulfite reductase activity from Desulfotomaculum nigrificans and its identification as the carbon monoxide-binding pigment P582. J Bacteriol 116:392–396PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson RL, Ordal EJ (1961) Cytophaga succinicans sp. n., a facultatively anaerobic, aquatic myxobacterium. J Bacteriool 81:130–138Google Scholar
  3. Arlauskas J, Burchard RP (1982) Substratum requirements for bacterial gliding motility. Arch Microbiol 133:137–141Google Scholar
  4. Bachmann BJ (1955) Studies on Cytophaga fermentans, n. sp., a facultatively anaerobic lower myxobacterium. J Gen Microbiol 13:541–551PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryant MP (1973) Nutritional requirements of the predominant rumen cellulolytic bacteria. Federation Proc 32:1809–1813Google Scholar
  6. Burchard RP (1980) Gliding motility of bacteria. BioScience 30:157–162Google Scholar
  7. Burchard RP (1981) Gliding motility of prokaryotes: ultrastructure, physiology, and genetics. Ann Rev Microbiol 35:497–529Google Scholar
  8. Burchard RP (1982a) Evidence for contractile flexing of the gliding bacterium Flexibacter FS-1. Nature 298:663–665PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Burchard RP (1982b) Trail following by gliding bacteria. J Bacteriol 152:495–501PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Castenholz RW (1973) Movements. In: Carr NG, Whitton BA (eds) The biology of blue-green algae. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford London Edinburg Melbourne, pp 320–339Google Scholar
  11. Cline JD (1969) Spectrophotometric determination of hydrogen sulfide in natural waters. Limnol Oceanogr 14:454–458Google Scholar
  12. Costerton JWF, Murray RGE, Robinow CF (1961) Observations on the motility and the structure of Vitreoscilla. Can J Microbiol 7:329–339PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Evans WC (1977) Biochemistry of the bacterial catabolism of aromatic compounds in anaerobic environments. Nature 270:17–22PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fenchel T (1969) The ecology of marine microbenthos. IV. Structure and function of the benthic ecosystem, its chemical and physical factors and the microfauna communities with special reference to the ciliated protozoa. Ophelia 6:1–182Google Scholar
  15. Ferry JG, Wolfe RS (1976) Anaerobic degradation of benzoate to methane by a microbial consortium. Arch Microbiol 107:33–40PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gräf W (1961) Anaerobe Myxobakterien, neue Mikroben in der menschlichen Mundhöhle. Arch Hyg Bakteriol 145:405–459PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Güde H (1979) Grazing by protozoa as selection factor for activated sludge bacteria. Microbiol Ecol 5:225–237Google Scholar
  18. Halfen LN (1973) Gliding motility of Oscillatoria: ultrastructural and chemical characterization of the fibrillar layer. J Phycol 9:248–253Google Scholar
  19. Halfen LN, Castenholz RW (1971) Gliding motility in the blue-green alga, Oscillatoria princeps. J Phycol 7:133–145Google Scholar
  20. Hirsch P (1981) The family Pelonemataceae. In: Starr MP, Stolp H, Trüper HG, Balows A, Schlegel HG (eds) The prokaryotes, vol I. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 412–421Google Scholar
  21. Holt SC, Leadbetter ER, Socransky SS (1979) Capnocytophaga: new genus of Gram-negative gliding bacteria. II. Morphology and ultrastructure. Arch Microbiol 122:17–27PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Humphrey BA, Dickson MR, Marshall KC (1979) Physicochemical and in situ observations on the adhesion of gliding bacteria to surfaces. Arch Microbiol 120:231–238Google Scholar
  23. Keith CL, Bridges RL, Fina LR, Iverson KL, Cloran JA (1978) The anaerobic decomposition of benzoic acid during methane fermentation. IV. Dearomatization of the ring and volatile fatty acids formed on ring rupture. Arch Microbiol 118:173–176PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lapidus IR, Berg HC (1982) Gliding motility of Cytophaga sp. strain U67. J Bacteriol 151:384–398PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Leadbetter ER, Holt SC, Socransky SS (1979) Capnocytophaga: new genus of Gram-negative gliding bacteria. I. General characteristics, taxonomic considerations and significance. Arch Microbiol 122:9–16PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Newman MG, Socransky SS, Savitt ED, Propas DA, Crawford A (1976) Studies of the microbiology of periodontosis. J Periodontol 47:373–379PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Nottingham PM, Hungate RE (1969) Methanogenic fermentation of benzoate. J Bacteriol 98:1170–1172PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Pate JL, Chang L-YE (1979) Evidence that gliding motility in procaryotic cells is driven by rotary assemblies in the cell envelopes. Curr Microbiol 2:59–64Google Scholar
  29. Postgate JR (1959) A diagnostic reaction of Desulphovibrio desulphuricans. Nature 183:481–482Google Scholar
  30. Reichenbach H (1981) Taxonomy of the gliding bacteria. Ann Rev Microbiol 35:339–364Google Scholar
  31. Reichenbach H, Dworkin M (1981) Introduction to the gliding bacteria. In: Starr MP, Stolp H, Trüper HG, Balows A, Schlegel HG (eds) The prokaryotes, vol I. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 315–327Google Scholar
  32. Skuja J (1956) Taxonomische und biologische Studien über das Phytoplankton schwedischer Binnengewässer. Nova Acta Reg Soc Sci Upsal 16 No 3:1–104Google Scholar
  33. Skuja H (1974) Family Pelonemataceae. In: Buchanan RE, Gibbons NE (eds) Bergey's manual of determinative bacteriology, 8th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 122–127Google Scholar
  34. Strohl WR (1979) Ultrastructure of Cytophaga johnsonae and C. aquatilis by freeze-etching. J Gen Microbiol 112:261–268Google Scholar
  35. Strohl WR, Larkin JM (1978) Enumeration, isolation, and characterization of Beggiatoa from freshwater sediments. Appl Environ Microbiol 36:755–770Google Scholar
  36. Tarvin D, Buswell AM (1934) The methane fermentation of organic acids and carbohydrates. J Am Chem Soc 56:1751–1755Google Scholar
  37. Thauer RK (1982) Dissimilatory sulphate reduction with acetate as electron donor. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B298:467–471Google Scholar
  38. Trudinger PA (1970) Carbon monoxide-reacting pigment from Desulfotomaculum nigrificans and its possible relevance to sulfite reduction. J Bacteriol 104:158–170PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Turekian KK (1969) The oceans, streams, and atmosphere. In: Wedepohl KH (ed) Handbook of geochemistry. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 295–323Google Scholar
  40. Veldkamp H (1961) A study of two marine agar-decomposing, facultatively anaerobic myxobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 26:331–342PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Walther-Mauruschat A, Aragno M, Mayer F, Schlegel HG (1977) Micromorphology of Gram-negative hydrogen bacteria. II. Cell envelope, membranes, and cytoplasmic inclusions. Arch Microbiol 114:101–110PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Weston JA, Knowles CJ (1973) A soluble CO-binding c-type cytochrome from the marine bacterium Beneckea natriegens. Biochim Biophys Acta 305:11–18PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Widdel F (1983) Methods for enrichment and pure culture isolation of filamentos gliding sulfate-reducing bacteria. Arch Microbiol 134:282–285Google Scholar
  44. Widdel F, Pfennig N (1981) Studies on dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria that decompose fatty acids. I. Isolation of new sulfate-reducing bacteria enriched with acetate from saline environments. Description of Desulfobacter postgatei gen. nov., sp. nov. Arch Microbiol 129:395–400Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friedrich Widdel
    • 1
  • Gert-Wieland Kohring
    • 2
  • Frank Mayer
    • 2
  1. 1.Fakultät für BiologieUniversität KonstanzKonstanzFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Institut für MikrobiologieUniversität GöttingenGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations