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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Sep; 62(9): 3360–3365.
PMCID: PMC168133

Intraspecies variability of cellular fatty acids among soil and intestinal strains of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans.


A comparison of cellular fatty acid profiles of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans DSM 642 and 14 wild strains of this species, isolated from two completely different environments, soil and the human intestine, was carried out. All the D. desulfuricans strains grown on lactate and sulfate indicated the presence of considerable amounts of i-C15:0, i-C17:1 and C16:0. Although differences in the quantities of individual fatty acids present in each strain were clear in the group of soil strains (similarity, 67.6%), in contrast to almost identical fatty acid patterns (similarity, near 100%) in the intestinal strains, the results were variable within the limits acceptable for species demonstration. The higher similarity of the fatty acid profiles of intestinal strains may be a result of the similarity of biocenoses in the human digestive tract. The coefficients of variability of i-C17:1 and i-C15:0 (the major branched-chain fatty acids), as well as clustering of the investigated strains compared with strains described in the literature after plotting percentages of i-C17:1 fatty acid against i-C15:0 fatty acid, confirmed a certain heterogeneity of cellular fatty acid profiles within the group of soil strains, in contrast to almost ideal homogeneity within the group of intestinal isolates. Intestinal strains contained a higher ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids (2.2 +/- 0.14) than did soil strains (1.6 +/- 0.2; in one case, 2.7). We propose that intestinal D. desulfovibrio bacteria should be assumed to be a highly homogeneous group and should be represented by the strain D. desulfuricans subsp. intestinus in collections of microbial cultures.

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Selected References

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