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Arch Microbiol. 2002 May;177(5):381-91. Epub 2002 Mar 5.

Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans sp. nov., a new marine sulfate reducer that oxidizes phosphite to phosphate.

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Fakultät für Biologie, Universität Konstanz, Postfach 5560, 78434 Konstanz, Germany,


A new sulfate-reducing bacterium was isolated from marine sediment with phosphite as sole electron donor and CO(2) as the only carbon source. Strain FiPS-3 grew slowly, with doubling times of 3-4 days, and oxidized phosphite, hydrogen, formate, acetate, fumarate, pyruvate, glycine, glutamate, and other substrates nearly completely, with concomitant reduction of sulfate to sulfide. Acetate was formed as a side product to a small extent. Glucose, arabinose, and proline were partly oxidized and partly fermented to acetate plus propionate. Growth with phosphite, hydrogen, or formate was autotrophic. Also, in the presence of sulfate, CO dehydrogenase was present, and added acetate did not increase growth rates or growth yields. In the absence of sulfate, phosphite oxidation was coupled to homoacetogenic acetate formation, with growth yields similar to those in the presence of sulfate. Cells were small rods, 0.6 - 0.8 x 2-4 microm in size, and gram-negative, with a G+C content of 53.9 mol%. They contained desulforubidin, but no desulfoviridin. Based on sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene and the sulfite reductase genes dsrAB, strain FiPS-3 was found to be closely related to Desulfotignum balticum. However, physiological properties differed in many points from those of D. balticum. These findings justify the establishment of a new species, Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans.

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