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Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2016;156:139-154.

Biotechnology of Anoxygenic Phototrophic Bacteria.

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Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, 3000, Helsingør, Denmark.


Anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria are a diverse collection of organisms that are defined by their ability to grow using energy from light without evolving oxygen. The dominant groups are purple sulfur bacteria, purple nonsulfur bacteria, green sulfur bacteria, and green and red filamentous anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. They represent several bacterial phyla but they all have bacteriochlorophylls and carotenoids and photochemical reaction centers which generate ATP and cellular reductants used for CO2 fixation. They typically have an anaerobic lifestyle in the light, although some grow aerobically in the dark. Some of them oxidize inorganic sulfur compounds for light-dependent CO2 fixation; this ability can be exploited for photobiological removal of hydrogen sulfide from wastewater and biogas. The anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria also perform bioremediation of recalcitrant dyes, pesticides, and heavy metals under anaerobic conditions. Finally, these organisms may be useful for overexpression of membrane proteins and photobiological production of H2 and other valuable compounds.


Biogas; Bioremediation; Carotenoids; Green sulfur bacteria; Hydrogen sulfide; Membrane proteins; Photosynthetic bacteria; Purple bacteria

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