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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2000 Oct;23(3):305-14.

Respiration of arsenate and selenate by hyperthermophilic archaea.

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Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie und Archaeenzentrum, Universität Regensburg, Germany.


A novel, strictly anaerobic, hyperthermophilic, facultative organotrophic archaeon was isolated from a hot spring at Pisciarelli Solfatara, Naples, Italy. The rod-shaped cells grew chemolithoautotrophically with carbon dioxide as carbon source, hydrogen as electron donor and arsenate, thiosulfate or elemental sulfur as electron acceptor. H2S was formed from sulfur or thiosulfate, arsenite from arsenate. Organotrophically, the new isolate grew optimally in the presence of an inorganic electron acceptor like sulfur, selenate or arsenate. Cultures, grown on arsenate and thiosulfate or arsenate and L-cysteine, precipitated realgar (As2S2). During growth on selenate, elemental selenium was produced. The G+C content of the DNA was 58.3 mol%. Due to 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis combined with physiological and morphological criteria, the new isolate belongs to the Thermoproteales order. It represents a new species within the genus Pyrobaculum, the type species of which we name Pyrobaculum arsenaticum (type strain PZ6*, DSM 13514, ATCC 700994). Comparative studies with different Pyrobaculum-species showed, that Pyrobaculum aerophilum was also able to grow organotrophically under anaerobic culture conditions in the presence of arsenate, selenate and selenite. During growth on selenite, elemental selenium was formed as final product. In contrast to P. arsenaticum, P. aerophilum could use selenate or arsenate for lithoautotrophic growth with carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

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