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Anaerobe. 1998 Dec;4(6):277-82.

Carbohydrate oxidation coupled to Fe(III) reduction, a novel form of anaerobic metabolism.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Southern Illinois University, IL 62901, USA.


An isolate, designated GC-29, that could incompletely oxidize glucose to acetate and carbon dioxide with Fe(III) serving as the electron acceptor was recovered from freshwater sediments of the Potomac River, Maryland. This metabolism yielded energy to support cell growth. Strain GC-29 is a facultatively anaerobic, gram-negative motile rod which, in addition to glucose, also used sucrose, lactate, pyruvate, yeast extract, casamino acids or H2 as alternative electron donors for Fe(III) reduction. Stain GC-29 could reduce NO3(-), Mn(IV), U(VI), fumarate, malate, S2O3(2-), and colloidal S0 as well as the humics analog, 2,6-anthraquinone disulfonate. Analysis of the almost complete 16S rRNA sequence indicated that strain GC-29 belongs in the Shewanella genus in the epsilon subdivision of the Proteobacteria. The name Shewanella saccharophilia is proposed. Shewanella saccharophilia differs from previously described fermentative microorganisms that metabolize glucose with the reduction of Fe(III) because it transfers significantly more electron equivalents to Fe(III); acetate and carbon dioxide are the only products of glucose metabolism; energy is conserved from Fe(III) reduction; and glucose is not metabolized in the absence of Fe(III). The metabolism of organisms like S. saccharophilia may account for the fact that glucose is metabolized primarily to acetate and carbon dioxide in a variety of sediments in which Fe(III) reduction is the terminal electron accepting process.


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