Bioenergetic Conditions of Butyrate Metabolism by a Syntrophic, Anaerobic Bacterium in Coculture with Hydrogen-Oxidizing Methanogenic and Sulfidogenic Bacteria Article (Web of Science)


  • The butyrate-oxidizing, proton-reducing, obligately anaerobic bacterium NSF-2 was grown in batch cocultures with either the hydrogen-oxidizing bacterium Methanospirillum hungatei PM-1 or Desulfovibrio sp. strain PS-1. Metabolism of butyrate occurred in two phases. The first phase exhibited exponential growth kinetics (phase a) and had a doubling time of 10 h. This value was independent of whether NSF-2 was cultured with a methanogen or a sulfate reducer and likely represents the maximum specific growth rate of NSF-2. This exponential growth phase was followed by a second phase with a nearly constant rate of degradation (phase b) which dominated the time course of butyrate degradation. The specific activity of H 2 uptake by the hydrogen-oxidizing bacterium controlled the bioenergetic conditions of metabolism in phase b. During this phase both the Gibbs free energy (Δ G ′) and the butyrate degradation rate ( v ) were greater for NSF-2- Desulfovibrio sp. strain PS-1 (Δ G ′ = −17.0 kJ/mol; v = 0.20 mM/h) than for NSF-2- M. hungatei PM-1 (Δ G ′ = −3.8 kJ/mol, v = 0.12 mM/h). The Δ G ′ value remained stable and characteristic of the two hydrogen oxidizers during phase b. The stable Δ G ′ resulted from the close coupling of the rates of butyrate and H 2 oxidation. The addition of 2-bromoethanesulfonate to a NSF-2-methanogen coculture resulted in the total inhibition of butyrate degradation; the inhibition was relieved when Desulfovibrio sp. strain PS-1 was added as a new H 2 sink. When the specific activity of H 2 consumption was increased by adding higher densities of the Desulfovibrio sp. to 2-bromoethanesulfonate-inhibited NSF-2-methanogen cocultures, lower H 2 pool sizes and higher rates of butyrate degradation resulted. Thus, it is the kinetic parameters of H 2 consumption, not the type of H 2 consumer per se, that establishes the thermodynamic conditions which in turn control the rate of fatty acid degradation. The bioenergetic homeostasis we observed in phase b was a result of the kinetics of the coculture members and the feedback inhibition by hydrogen which prevents butyrate degradation rates from reaching their theoretical V max .


  • Dwyer, Daryl F
  • Weeg-Aerssens, Els
  • Shelton, Daniel R.
  • Tiedje, James M.

publication date

  • 1988

number of pages

  • 5

start page

  • 1354

end page

  • 1359


  • 54


  • 6