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Anaerobic degradation of ethylbenzene by a new type of marine sulfate-reducing bacterium

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Kniemeyer,  O.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Fischer,  T.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Wilkes,  H.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Glöckner,  F. O.
Microbial Genomics Group, Department of Molecular Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Widdel,  F.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kniemeyer, O., Fischer, T., Wilkes, H., Glöckner, F. O., & Widdel, F. (2003). Anaerobic degradation of ethylbenzene by a new type of marine sulfate-reducing bacterium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69(2), 760-768.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D3E8-B
Abstract
Anaerobic degradation of the aromatic hydrocarbon ethylbenzene was studied with sulfate as the electron acceptor. Enrichment cultures prepared with marine sediment samples from different locations showed ethylbenzene-dependent reduction of sulfate to sulfide and always contained a characteristic cell type that formed gas vesicles towards the end of growth. A pure culture of this cell type, strain EbS7, was isolated from sediment from Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California). Complete mineralization of ethylbenzene coupled to sulfate reduction was demonstrated in growth experiments with strain EbS7. Sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene revealed a close relationship between strain EbS7 and the previously described marine sulfate-reducing strains NaphS2 and mXyS1 (similarity values, 97.6 and 96.2%, respectively), which grow anaerobically with naphthalene and m-xylene, respectively. However, strain EbS7 did not oxidize naphthalene, m-xylene, or toluene. Other compounds utilized by strain EbS7 were phenylacetate, 3-phenylpropionate, formate, n-hexanoate, lactate, and pyruvate. 1-Phenylethanol and acetophenone, the characteristic intermediates in anaerobic ethylbenzene degradation by denitrifying bacteria, neither served as growth substrates nor were detectable as metabolites by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in ethylbenzene-grown cultures of strain EbS7. Rather, (1-phenylethyl)succinate and 4-phenylpentanoate were detected as specific metabolites in such cultures. Formation of these intermediates can be explained by a reaction sequence involving addition of the benzyl carbon atom of ethylbenzene to fumarate, carbon skeleton rearrangement of the succinate moiety (as a thioester), and loss of one carboxyl group. Such reactions are analogous to those suggested for anaerobic n-alkane degradation and thus differ from the initial reactions in anaerobic ethylbenzene degradation by denitrifying bacteria which employ dehydrogenations.