Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 125, Issue 3, pp 245–249 | Cite as

H2 production of Rhodospirillum rubrum during adaptation to anaerobic dark conditions

  • H. Voelskow
  • G. Schön


Rhodospirillum rubrum is able to produce H2 during fermentation anaerobically in the dark in two ways, namely through formate hydrogen lyase and through the nitrogenase. After chemotrophic preculture aerobically in the dark formate hydrogen lyase was synthesized after a lag phase, whilst after phototrophic preculture a slight activity was present from the beginning of the anaerobic dark culture. During fermentation metabolism its activity increased noticeably. Hydrogen production through the nitrogenase occurred if the nitrogenase had been activated during phototrophic preculture. It ceased during fermentation metabolism after about 3 1/2 h anaerobic dark culture. The CO insensitive H2 production by the nitrogenase could be partially inhibited by N2. Potential activity of this system, however, remained and could be increased under conditions of nitrogenase induction. It seems therefore possible that synthesis of nitrogenase under N-deficiency can occur during fermentation metabolism in the same way as the formation of the photosynthetic apparatus in order to prepare for subsequent phototrophic metabolism.

Key words

Pyruvate fermentation H2 production Formate hydrogen lyase Nitrogenase Rhodospirillum rubrum 





Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen, Göttingen


formate hydrogen lyase


optical density


pyruvate formate lyase


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Voelskow
    • 1
  • G. Schön
    • 1
  1. 1.MikrobiologieInstitut für Biologie II der UniversitätFreiburgGermany

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