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Syntrophic growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria and colorless sulfur bacteria during oxygen limitation

vandenEnde, FP., Meier, J. & vanGemerden, H., May-1997, In : FEMS Microbial Ecology. 23, 1, p. 65-80 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  • FP vandenEnde
  • J Meier
  • H vanGemerden

Stable co-cultures of the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans PA2805 and the colorless sulfur bacterium Thiobacillus thioparus T5 were obtained in continuous cultures supplied with limiting amounts of lactate and oxygen while sulfate was present in excess. Neither species could grow in purl culture under these conditions. Desulfovibrio could grow only when the oxygen concentration was kept low by Thiobacillus. Zerovalent sulfur (S-0) produced by Thiobacillus was preferred over sulfate as electron acceptor by Desulfovibrio, but the affinity for S-0 seemed to be rather low. This substrate was more efficiently used when sulfide was present suggesting that SO is preferably used in the form of polysulfides. Through the use of SO as electron acceptor the sulfide production per lactate by Desulfovibrio was four times higher than with sulfate as acceptor. Thiobacillus produces less sulfate and more S-0 when the amount of sulfide available per oxygen increases. The elevated sulfide production by Desulfovibrio thus resulted in an increase of the S-0 production by Thiobacillus, again leading to a further increase of the sulfide production. This positive feedback mechanism stabilizes the syntrophic association. The yield on lactate of Desulfovibrio was doubled in the mixed culture compared with growth on lactate and sulfate in pure culture. This yield increase was attributed to the use of zerovalent sulfur instead of sulfate as electron acceptor. Both organisms were thus shown to benefit from a syntrophic interaction in which lactate was oxidized with oxygen, with a rapid cycling of sulfide and zerovalent sulfur serving the transfer of reducing equivalents between the species. These observations shed some light on the occurrence of colorless sulfur bacteria and sulfate-reducing bacteria at the same depth horizons in microbial mats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalFEMS Microbial Ecology
Volume23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May-1997

    Keywords

  • Thiobacillus, Desulfovibrio, oxygen limitation, sulfide oxidation, sulfate reduction, MARINE MICROBIAL MAT, FRESH-WATER, THIOSULFATE TRANSFORMATIONS, DESULFOVIBRIO-DESULFURICANS, CYANOBACTERIAL MAT, ELECTRON-ACCEPTOR, SULFIDE OXIDATION, ELEMENTAL SULFUR, FATTY-ACIDS, REDUCTION

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