Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Thiotrophic Bacteria

  • Heide N. Schulz-Vogt
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_206


Sulfur bacteria


Bacteria living of sulfur compounds.


The term thiotrophic is derived from Greek and translates to sulfur nourishment, meaning that thiotrophic bacteria live on sulfide or other reduced sulfur compounds. Traditionally, these bacteria are often called sulfur bacteria because some of them can be recognized as sulfide oxidizers in the microscope, as they store elemental sulfur within the cells or excrete elemental sulfur into the medium. Microbiologists distinguish between colorless sulfur bacteria and green and purple sulfur bacteria , the latter two being phototrophs, which use sulfide as electron donator for anoxygenic photosynthesis (Robertson and Kuenen, 2006). The purple and green sulfur bacteria are generally not called thiotrophic because they gain energy by photosynthesis and are thus classified as phototrophic, even though sulfide is required for this process. Free-living, sulfide oxidizing bacteria are, out of tradition, still...


Hydrothermal Vent Sulfide Oxidation Green Sulfur Bacterium Acidithiobacillus Ferrooxidans Purple Sulfur Bacterium 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heide N. Schulz-Vogt
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Marine MicrobiologyBremenGermany