Acetogenesis pp 331-364 | Cite as

Acetogenesis and the Rumen: Syntrophic Relationships

  • Roderick I. Mackie
  • Marvin P. Bryant
Part of the Chapman & Hall Microbiology Series book series (CHMBS)


Acetate can be formed, as a major or minor product, from the fermentation of various organic substrates. It is also formed by a synthesis from CO2 and/or other one-carbon precursors. Acetogenic bacteria can be defined as obligate anaerobes that utilize CO2 as a terminal electron acceptor in energy metabolism, producing acetate and other fatty acids (Fuchs, 1986). This review also describes research concerning proton-reducing acetogens in which protons are used as electron acceptors for the oxidation of certain substrates (alcohols, lactate, lowly substituted monobenzenes, and fatty acids) to acetate with concomitant formation of H2. The synthesis of acetate by these organisms is thermodynamically favorable only when the partial pressure of H2 is very low and is normally achieved in the presence of a hydrogen-utilizing methanogen or sulfate reducer. Evidence exists that Clostridium thermoaceticum may also reduce protons and, hence, produce H2 under certain conditions. Thus proton-reducing acetogens may also utilize the acetyl CoA pathway for CO2 reduction (see Chapter 1).


Most Probable Number Rumen Fluid Methanogenic Bacterium Rumen Bacterium Rumen Content 
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  • Roderick I. Mackie
  • Marvin P. Bryant

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