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Sulfonate utilization by Desulfovibrio may expand ecological niches


 
Day, L.A.; K.B. De León, M.L. Kempher, J. Zhou, J.D. Wall (2019) Complete Genome Sequence of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans IC1, a Sulfonate-Respiring Anaerobe. Microbiology Resource Announcements. [doi]: 1128/MRA.00456-19

As part of ongoing work related to the 100-Well Survey of the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) supported by ENIGMA, Leslie Day, an undergraduate student, has published a genome announcement for a strain of Desulfovibrio, a sulfate-reducing bacterium (SRB), that grows by respiration of sulfonates. Genome comparisons have identified a candidate pathway and probes to explore the taxonomic distribution of this metabolism. Data from the earlier survey work showed that the SRB and sulfate were nearly mutually exclusive in the groundwater of the ORR prompting Leslie to determine if alternative sources of sulfate could possibly explain this result. A literature review pointed to sulfonates, ubiquitous in nature, as potential electron acceptors for SRB. As part of the Environmental Ark Campaign, she has shown that the sulfonate isethionate is used by a subset of SRB as a terminal electron acceptor and has identified the transporter and potential metabolic pathway for isethionate. The widespread distribution of sulfonates in the terrestrial environment may contribute to an understanding of the abundance of SRB in niches low in sulfate.