Genome-Guided Analysis of Physiological Capacities of Tepidanaerobacter acetatoxydans Provides Insights into Environmental Adaptations and Syntrophic Acetate Oxidation

Bettina Müller, Shahid Manzoor, Adnan Niazi, Erik Bongcam-Rudloff, Anna Schnürer

Abstract

This paper describes the genome-based analysis of Tepidanaerobacter acetatoxydans strain Re1, a syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacterium (SAOB). Principal issues such as environmental adaptations, metabolic capacities, and energy conserving systems have been investigated and the potential consequences for syntrophic acetate oxidation discussed. Briefly, in pure culture, T. acetatoxydans grows with different organic compounds and produces acetate as the main product. In a syntrophic consortium with a hydrogenotrophic methanogen, it can also reverse its metabolism and instead convert acetate to formate/H2 and CO2. It can only proceed if the product formed is continuously removed. This process generates a very small amount of energy that is scarcely enough for growth, which makes this particular syntrophy of special interest. As a crucial member of the biogas-producing community in ammonium-rich engineered AD processes, genomic features conferring ammonium resistance, bacterial defense, oxygen and temperature tolerance were found, as well as attributes related to biofilm formation and flocculation. It is likely that T. acetatoxydans can form an electrochemical gradient by putative electron-bifurcating Rnf complex and [Fe-Fe] hydrogenases, as observed in other acetogens. However, genomic deficiencies related to acetogenic metabolism and anaerobic respiration were discovered, such as the lack of formate dehydrogenase and F1F0 ATP synthase. This has potential consequences for the metabolic pathways used under SAO and non-SAO conditions. The two complete sets of bacteriophage genomes, which were found to be encoded in the genome, are also worthy of mention.

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