Microbial Mats pp 367-376 | Cite as

Novel metabolic capacities of sulfate-reducing bacteria, and their activities in microbial mats

  • Heribert Cypionka
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 35)


A typical inhabitant of a microbial mat is able to control its metabolism or to migrate vertically in response to the diel changes of light, redox conditions, and the concentrations of O2, sulfide, organic substrates etc. The dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria, however, were considered to be strict anaerobes, active in the reduced zones at the bottom of microbial mats, only. This view has changed now. New observations concerning the metabolism of sulfate reducers are coming from activity measurements in mats and from laboratory studies. However, to this point field and pure culture results give different pictures. My aim in this review is to discuss the metabolic versatility of sulfate-reducing bacteria. Some general principles derived from pure culture studies might be worthwile as guidelines, but will not close the gap. First, I shall describe the ambivalent relations of sulfate-reducing bacteria to oxygen. Then, the consequences of varying environmental conditions for sulfur metabolism are discussed.


Sulfate Reduction Sulfur Compound Aerobic Respiration Sulfur Metabolism Sulfur Cycle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heribert Cypionka
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the SeaUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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