In etymological terms, anaerobic conditions are those where there is not (an-) life (from the Latin bios) that needs air (from the Greek aér). However, aér should refer more explicitly to the gas oxygen. The term can therefore be redefined as the conditions in which, as a result of both chemical equilibria and biochemical activities, oxygen is not available for redox reactions. Instead, other oxidized compounds may be present which can be used by micro-organisms for specific types of energy metabolism (Holland et al., 1987).
It is worth bearing in mind first that anaerobic conditions may coexist with aerobic ones: oxygen in gaseous form may be unavailable to organisms in micro-environments (such as aggregates of detritus suspended in water) while at the same time it is present in the macro-environment (water). This dichotomy can also occur between compartments of the same ecosystem, such as an aerobic water column and anoxic sediments. In cyanobacteria, photosynthetic activity, oxygen...
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Fenchel, T., and Finlay, B., 1995. Ecology and Evolution in Anoxic Worlds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 276 pp.
Holland, K. T., Knapp, J. S., and Shoesmith, J. G., 1987. Anaerobic Bacteria. Glasgow: Blackie; New York: Chapman & Hall, 206 pp.
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Antonietti, R. (1999). Anaerobic conditions. In: Environmental Geology. Encyclopedia of Earth Science. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4494-1_14
Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht
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