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Front Microbiol. 2015 Nov 19;6:1275. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.01275. eCollection 2015.

Pathways and Bioenergetics of Anaerobic Carbon Monoxide Fermentation.

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Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands.
Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University Wageningen, Netherlands ; Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho Braga, Portugal.


Carbon monoxide can act as a substrate for different modes of fermentative anaerobic metabolism. The trait of utilizing CO is spread among a diverse group of microorganisms, including members of bacteria as well as archaea. Over the last decade this metabolism has gained interest due to the potential of converting CO-rich gas, such as synthesis gas, into bio-based products. Three main types of fermentative CO metabolism can be distinguished: hydrogenogenesis, methanogenesis, and acetogenesis, generating hydrogen, methane and acetate, respectively. Here, we review the current knowledge on these three variants of microbial CO metabolism with an emphasis on the potential enzymatic routes and bio-energetics involved.


acetogenesis; carboxydotrophic; hydrogenogenesis; methanogenesis; syngas; water–gas shift reaction

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