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J Bacteriol. 1982 Jan; 149(1): 181–190.
PMCID: PMC216608

Fermentation and Anaerobic Respiration by Rhodospirillum rubrum and Rhodopseudomonas capsulata


Rhodospirillum rubrum and Rhodopseudomonas capsulata were able to grow anaerobically in the dark either by a strict mixed-acid fermentation of sugars or, in the presence of an appropriate electron acceptor, by an energy-linked anaerobic respiration. Both species fermented fructose without the addition of accessory oxidants, but required the initial presence of bicarbonate before fermentative growth could begin. Major products of R. rubrum fermentation were succinate, acetate, propionate, formate, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide; R. capsulata produced major amounts of lactate, acetate, succinate, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. R. rubrum and R. capsulata were also capable of growing strictly through anaerobic, respiratory mechanisms. Nonfermentable substrates, such as succinate, malate, or acetate, supported growth only in the presence of an electron acceptor such as dimethyl sulfoxide or trimethylamine oxide. Carbon dioxide and dimethyl sulfide were produced during growth of R. rubrum and R. capsulata on succinate plus dimethyl sulfoxide. Molar growth yields from cultures grown anaerobically in the dark on fructose plus dimethyl sulfoxide were 3.8 to 4.6 times higher than values obtained from growth on fructose alone and were 56 to 60% of the values obtained from aerobic, respiratory growth with fructose. Likewise, molar growth yields from anaerobic, respiratory growth conditions with succinate plus dimethyl sulfoxide were 51 to 54% of the values obtained from aerobic, respiratory growth with succinate. The data indicate that dimethyl sulfoxide or trimethylamine oxide as a terminal oxidant is approximately 33 to 41% as efficient as O2 in conserving energy through electron transport-linked respiration.

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