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J Bacteriol. 2008 May;190(10):3779-85. doi: 10.1128/JB.01861-07. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

Quantitative analysis of three hydrogenotrophic microbial groups, methanogenic archaea, sulfate-reducing bacteria, and acetogenic bacteria, within plaque biofilms associated with human periodontal disease.

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  • 1Division of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Pauwelsstrasse 30, D-52057 Aachen, Germany.


Human subgingival plaque biofilms are highly complex microbial ecosystems that may depend on H(2)-metabolizing processes. Here we investigated the ubiquity and proportions of methanogenic archaea, sulfate reducers, and acetogens in plaque samples from 102 periodontitis patients. In contrast to the case for 65 healthy control subjects, hydrogenotrophic groups were almost consistently detected in periodontal pockets, with the proportions of methanogens and sulfate reducers being significantly elevated in severe cases. In addition, antagonistic interactions among the three microbial groups indicated that they may function as alternative syntrophic partners of secondary fermenting periodontal pathogens.

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