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Journal Article

Intracellular calcite and sulfur dynamics of Achromatium cells observed in a lab-based enrichment and aerobic incubation experiment


Salman-Carvalho,  Verena
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Yang, T., Teske, A., Ambrose, W., Salman-Carvalho, V., Bagnell, R., & Nielsen, L. P. (2019). Intracellular calcite and sulfur dynamics of Achromatium cells observed in a lab-based enrichment and aerobic incubation experiment. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology, 112, 263-274.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-B765-D
We investigated the intracellular dynamics of calcite and sulfur in the large sulfur-oxidizing, calcite-accumulating bacterium Achromatium, with an emphasis on oxygen exposure as a physiological control. For this purpose, morphological changes and possible accretion mechanisms of calcite granules in cells that were freshly collected from natural Achromatium-containing sediment were compared to cells from the same source after prolonged exposure to atmospheric oxygen. Intracellular sulfur is oxidized and removed in response to oxygen exposure. Calcite granules also undergo distinct oxygen-related dynamics; they alternate between tightly packaged, smooth granules with narrow but sharply defined interstitial spaces in atmospheric oxygen-exposed cells, and more loosely packaged granules with irregular, bumpy surface texture and larger interstitial spaces in cells that were not artificially exposed to oxygen. These results suggest that morphological changes of the calcite granules reflect their changing physiological role inside the cell. Sulfur oxidation and calcite dissolution appear to be linked in that proton generation during sulfur oxidation is buffered by gradual calcite erosion, visible in the smooth, rounded surface morphology observed after oxygen exposure. Our results support the hypothesis that calcite dynamics buffer the intracellular pH fluctuations linked to electron acceptor limitation during proton-consuming sulfide oxidation to sulfur, and electron acceptor abundance during proton-generating sulfur oxidation to sulfate.