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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1989 March; 55(3): 700–706.
PMCID: PMC184183

Hydrogen and Formate Oxidation Coupled to Dissimilatory Reduction of Iron or Manganese by Alteromonas putrefaciens


The ability of Alteromonas putrefaciens to obtain energy for growth by coupling the oxidation of various electron donors to dissimilatory Fe(III) or Mn(IV) reduction was investigated. A. putrefaciens grew with hydrogen, formate, lactate, or pyruvate as the sole electron donor and Fe(III) as the sole electron acceptor. Lactate and pyruvate were oxidized to acetate, which was not metabolized further. With Fe(III) as the electron acceptor, A. putrefaciens had a high affinity for hydrogen and formate and metabolized hydrogen at partial pressures that were 25-fold lower than those of hydrogen that can be metabolized by pure cultures of sulfate reducers or methanogens. The electron donors for Fe(III) reduction also supported Mn(IV) reduction. The electron donors for Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction and the inability of A. putrefaciens to completely oxidize multicarbon substrates to carbon dioxide distinguish A. putrefaciens from GS-15, the only other organism that is known to obtain energy for growth by coupling the oxidation of organic compounds to the reduction of Fe(III) or Mn(IV). The ability of A. putrefaciens to reduce large quantities of Fe(III) and to grow in a defined medium distinguishes it from a Pseudomonas sp., which is the only other known hydrogen-oxidizing, Fe(III)-reducing microorganism. Furthermore, A. putrefaciens is the first organism that is known to grow with hydrogen as the electron donor and Mn(IV) as the electron acceptor and is the first organism that is known to couple the oxidation of formate to the reduction of Fe(III) or Mn(IV). Thus, A. putrefaciens provides a much needed microbial model for key reactions in the oxidation of sediment organic matter coupled to Fe(III) and Mn(IV) reduction.

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