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Biotechnol Bioeng. 1998 Sep 20;59(6):732-46.

A unified model describing the role of hydrogen in the growth of desulfovibrio vulgaris under different environmental conditions

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  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1691, USA.


A unified model for the growth of Desulfovibrio vulgaris under different environmental conditions is presented. The model assumes the existence of two electron transport mechanisms functioning simultaneously. One mechanism results in the evolution and consumption of hydrogen, as in the hydrogen-cycling model. The second mechanism assumes a direct transport of electrons from the donor to the acceptor, without the participation of H2. A combination of kinetic and thermodynamic conditions control the flow of electrons through each pathway. The model was calibrated using batch experiments with D. vulgaris grown on lactate, in the presence and absence of sulfate, and was verified using additional batch experiments under different conditions. The model captured the general trends of consumption of substrates and accumulation of products, including the transient accumulation and consumption of H2. Furthermore, the model estimated that 48% of the electrons transported from lactate to sulfate involved H2 production, indicating that hydrogen cycling is a fundamental process in D. vulgaris. The presence of simultaneous electron transport mechanisms might provide D. vulgaris with important ecological advantages, because it facilitates a rapid response to changes in environmental conditions. This model increases our ability to study the microbial ecology of anaerobic environments and the role of Desulfovibrio species in a variety of environments. Copyright 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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