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Extremophiles. 2000 Aug;4(4):237-45.

A new facultatively autotrophic hydrogen- and sulfur-oxidizing bacterium from an alkaline environment.

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Institute of Microbiology RAS, Moscow, Russia.


An alkaliphilic bacterium, strain AHO 1, was isolated from an enrichment culture with hydrogen at pH 10 inoculated with a composite sample of sediments from five highly alkaline soda lakes (Kenya). This bacterium is a gram-negative, nonmotile, rod-shaped, obligately aerobic, and facultatively autotrophic hydrogen-oxidizing organism. It was able to oxidize reduced sulfur compounds to sulfate during heterotrophic growth. It utilized a wide range of organic compounds as carbon and energy sources and grew mixotrophically with hydrogen and acetate. With sulfur compounds, mixotrophic growth was observed only in acetate-limited continuous culture. The normal pH range for autotrophic growth with hydrogen was pH 8.0-10.25, with a pH optimum at 9-9.5. Growth at pH values lower than 8.0 was extremely slow. Heterotrophic growth with acetate was optimal at pH 10.0. The hydrogen-oxidizing activity of whole cells was maximal at pH 9.0 and still substantial up to pH 11. NAD-dependent hydrogenase activity was found in the soluble fraction of the cell-free extract, but no methylene blue-dependent activity in either the soluble or membrane fractions was observed. On the basis of its pH profile, the soluble hydrogenase of strain AHO 1 was a typical pH-neutral enzyme. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that strain AHO 1 belongs to the alpha-3 subgroup of the Proteobacteria with a closest relation to a recently described alkaliphilic aerobic bacteriochlorophyll a-containing bacterium "Roseinatronobacter thiooxidans."

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