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Microb Ecol. 2002 May;43(4):424-31. Epub 2002 Apr 15.

Anaerobic biooxidation of Fe(II) by Dechlorosoma suillum.

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Department of Microbiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.


Anaerobic microbial oxidation of Fe(II) was only recently discovered and very little is known about this metabolism. We recently demonstrated that several dissimilatory perchlorate-reducing bacteria could utilize Fe(II) as an electron donor under anaerobic conditions. Here we report on a more in-depth analysis of Fe(II) oxidation by one of these organisms, Dechlorosoma suillum. Similarly to most known nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidizers, D. suillum did not grow heterotrophically or lithoautotrophically by anaerobic Fe(II) oxidation. In the absence of a suitable organic carbon source, cells rapidly lysed even though nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation was still occurring. The coupling of Fe(II) oxidation to a particular electron acceptor was dependent on the growth conditions of cells of D. suillum. As such, anaerobically grown cultures of D. suillum did not mediate Fe(II) oxidation with oxygen as the electron acceptor, while conversely, aerobically grown cultures did not mediate Fe(II) oxidation with nitrate as the electron acceptor. Anaerobic washed cell suspensions of D. suillum rapidly produced an orange/brown precipitate which X-ray diffraction analysis identified as amorphous ferric oxyhydroxide or ferrihydrite. This is similar to all other identified nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidizers but is in contrast to what is observed for growth cultures of D. suillum, which produced a mixed-valence Fe(II)-Fe(III) precipitate known as green rust. D. suillum rapidly oxidized the Fe(II) content of natural sediments. Although the form of ferrous iron in these sediments is unknown, it is probably a component of an insoluble mineral, as previous studies indicated that soluble Fe(II) is a relatively minor form of the total Fe(II) content of anoxic environments. The results of this study further enhance our knowledge of a poorly understood form of microbial metabolism and indicate that anaerobic Fe(II) oxidation by D. suillum is significantly different from previously described forms of nitrate-dependent microbial Fe(II) oxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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