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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Dec;10(12):3265-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01716.x. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

Use of benzoate as an electron acceptor by Syntrophus aciditrophicus grown in pure culture with crotonate.

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Departments of Botany and Microbiology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA.


In methanogenic environments, the main fate of benzoate is its oxidization to acetate, H(2) and CO(2) by syntrophic associations of hydrogen-producing benzoate degraders and hydrogen-using methanogens. Here, we report the use of benzoate as an electron acceptor. Pure cultures of S. aciditrophicus simultaneously degraded crotonate and benzoate when both substrates were present. The growth rate was 0.007 h(-1) with crotonate and benzoate present compared with 0.025 h(-1) with crotonate alone. After 8 days of incubation, 4.12 +/- 0.50 mM of cyclohexane carboxylate and 8.40 +/- 0.61 mM of acetate were formed and 4.0 +/- 0.04 mM of benzoate and 4.8 +/- 0.5 mM of crotonate were consumed. The molar growth yield was 22.7 +/- 2.1 g (dry wt) of cells per mol of crotonate compared with about 14.0 +/- 0.1 g (dry wt) of cells per mol of crotonate when S. aciditrophicus was grown with crotonate alone. Cultures grown with [ring-(13)C]-benzoate and unlabelled crotonate initially formed [ring-(13)C]-labelled cyclohexane carboxylate. No (13)C-labelled acetate was detected. In addition to cyclohexane carboxylate, (13)C-labelled cyclohex-1-ene carboxylate was detected as an intermediate. Once almost all of the benzoate was gone, carbon isotopic analyses showed that cyclohexane carboxylate was formed from both labelled and non-labelled metabolites. Glutarate and pimelate were also detected at this time and carbon isotopic analyses showed that each was made from a mixture labelled and non-labelled metabolites. The increase in molar growth yield with crotonate and benzoate and the formation of [ring-(13)C]-cyclohexane carboxylate from [ring-(13)C]-benzoate in the presence of crotonate are consistent with benzoate serving as an electron acceptor.

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