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Introduction to the Chemolithotrophic Bacteria

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The Prokaryotes

Abstract

The term chemolithotrophy describes the energy metabolism of bacteria that can, in the absence of light, use the oxidation of inorganic substances as a source of energy for cell biosynthesis and maintenance (Rittenberg, 1969). Chemolithotrophs include organisms that exhibit extraordinary diversity in the range of substrates metabolized by different genera, in their modes of carbon nutrition, and in the variety of morphology and habitat. The grouping of the chemolithotrophs as a taxonomic unit is thus at least as artificial as most taxonomic devices in that representatives of virtually the whole range of possible morphology and physiology among bacteria are included. Such taxonomic “lumping” does have value since some fundamental aspects of carbon and energy metabolism unify many of chemolithotrophs into an acceptable physiological family.

Ihre Lebensprozesse spielen sich nach einem viel einfacheren Schema ab; durch einen rein anorganischen chemischen Prozess ... werden alle ihre Lebensbewegungen im Gange erhalten.

(Winogradsky, 1887)1

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© 1981 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Kelly, D.P. (1981). Introduction to the Chemolithotrophic Bacteria. In: Starr, M.P., Stolp, H., Trüper, H.G., Balows, A., Schlegel, H.G. (eds) The Prokaryotes. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-13187-9_79

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-13187-9_79

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