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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 Apr;41(4):1029-39.

Syntrophomonas wolfei gen. nov. sp. nov., an Anaerobic, Syntrophic, Fatty Acid-Oxidizing Bacterium.

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Department of Dairy Science, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801.


An anaerobic, nonphototrophic bacterium that beta-oxidizes saturated fatty acids (butyrate through octanoate) to acetate or acetate and propionate using protons as the electron acceptor (H(2) as electron sink product) was isolated in coculture with either a non-fatty acid-degrading, H(2)-utilizing Desulfovibrio sp. or methanogens. Three strains of the bacterium were characterized and are described as a new genus and species, Syntrophomonas wolfei. S. wolfei is a gram-negative, slightly helical rod with round ends that possesses between two to eight flagella laterally inserted along the concave side of the cell. It has a multilayered cell wall of the gram-negative type. The presence of muramic acid, inhibition of growth by penicillin, and increased sensitivity of the cells to lysis after treatment with lysozyme indicate that peptidoglycan is present in the cell wall. Cells of S. wolfei contain poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate. Isoheptanoate was degraded to acetate, isovalerate, and H(2). Carbohydrates, proteinaceous materials, alcohols, or other tested organic compounds do not support growth. Common electron acceptors are not utilized with butyrate as the electron donor. Growth and degradation of fatty acids occur only in syntrophic association with H(2)-using bacteria. The most rapid generation time obtained by cocultures of S. wolfei with Desulfovibrio and Methanospirillum hungatei is 54 and 84 h, respectively. The addition of Casamino Acids but neither Trypticase nor yeast extract stimulated growth and resulted in a slight decrease in the generation time of S. wolfei cocultured with M. hungatei. The addition of H(2) to the medium stopped growth and butyrate degradation by S. wolfei.

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