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Microbiology. 2014 Apr;160(Pt 4):723-32. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.075093-0. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

Sulfate-dependent acetate oxidation under extremely natron-alkaline conditions by syntrophic associations from hypersaline soda lakes.

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Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Prospect 60-let Octyabrya 7/2, 117811 Moscow, Russia.


So far, anaerobic sulfate-dependent acetate oxidation at high pH has only been demonstrated for a low-salt-tolerant syntrophic association of a clostridium 'Candidatus Contubernalis alkalaceticum' and its hydrogenotrophic sulfate-reducing partner Desulfonatronum cooperativum. Anaerobic enrichments at pH 10 inoculated with sediments from hypersaline soda lakes of the Kulunda Steppe (Altai, Russia) demonstrated the possibility of sulfate-dependent acetate oxidation at much higher salt concentrations (up to 3.5 M total Na(+)). The most salt-tolerant purified cultures contained two major components apparently working in syntrophy. The primary acetate-fermenting component was identified as a member of the order Clostridiales forming, together with 'Ca. Contubernalis alkalaceticum', an independent branch within the family Syntrophomonadaceae. A provisional name, 'Ca. Syntrophonatronum acetioxidans', is suggested for the novel haloalkaliphilic clostridium. Two phylotypes of extremely haloalkaliphilic sulfate-reducing bacteria of the genus Desulfonatronospira were identified as sulfate-reducing partners in the acetate-oxidizing cultures under extreme salinity. The dominant phylotype differed from the two species of Desulfonatronospira described so far, whilst a minor component belonged to Desulfonatronum thiodismutans. The results proved that, contrary to previous beliefs, sulfate-dependent acetate oxidation is possible, albeit very slowly, in nearly saturated soda brines.

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