Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • José Luis Sanz
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_75-2



Anaerobes are organisms that do not require oxygen to obtain energy or to grow. Anaerobic metabolism is restricted to microorganisms, both prokaryotic (Bacteria and Archaea) and eukaryotic (yeast, microsporidia), although an anaerobic multicellular organism (phylum Loricifera) has been recently discovered in marine sediments.


There are two main categories of anaerobic microorganisms: (1) facultative anaerobes that can use oxygen for respiration if it is present but in its absence obtain energy from fermentation (such as enterobacteria or yeasts), anaerobic respiration (some Pseudomonas, Thiobacillus, Bacillus, and many others), and anoxygenic photosynthesis (some Proteobacteria) and (2) obligate anaerobes, which never use oxygen. These can, in turn, be divided into two subcategories: (a) strict or obligate anaerobes, for whom oxygen is poisonous (i.e., oxygen is extremely toxic to methanogens), and (b) aeroduric or aerotolerant anaerobes that...


Lactic Acid Municipal Solid Waste Acid Fermenter Typhoid Fever Anaerobic Respiration 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Madigan M, Martinko J, Dunlap P, Clark D (2009) Brock biology of microorganisms, 12th edn. Person Education, Benjamin Cummings, Chapters 18, 21Google Scholar
  2. Sowers KR, Noll KM (1995) Techniques for anaerobic growth. In: Robb FT, Place AR, Sowers KR, Schreier HJ, Dassarma S, Flischmann EM (eds) A laboratory manual: methanogens. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York, pp 15–47Google Scholar
  3. Willey JM, Sherwood LM, Woolverton CJ (2008) Prescott, Harley, and Kleins. Microbiology, 7th edn. McGraw-Hill, Boston, Chap. 9Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología MolecularUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain