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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03108

Co-culture of a novel fermentative bacterium, Lucifera butyrica gen. nov. sp. nov., with the sulfur reducer Desulfurella amilsii for enhanced sulfidogenesis

  • 1Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
  • 2Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
  • 3Centro de Engenharia Biológica, Universidade do Minho, Portugal

Biosulfidogenesis can be used to remediate low pH and high metal content waters such as acid mine drainage and recover the present metals. The selection of a cheap electron donor for the process is important for the economic viability. In this work we isolated a novel versatile acidotolerant fermentative bacterium (strain ALET) that is able to use a great variety of substrates including glycerol. Strain ALET is an obligate anaerobe, and cells are motile, rod-shaped, spore-forming, and stain Gram-positive. Growth occurred in a pH range from 3.5 to 7 (optimum 5.5), and temperature range from 25 to 40°C (optimum 37°C). It grows by fermentation of sugars, organic acids and glycerol. It has the ability to use thiosulfate, iron and DMSO as electron acceptors. Its genome is 4.7 Mb with 5122 protein-coding sequences, and a G+C content of 46.9 mol%. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, the closest cultured species is Propionispora hippei (91.4% 16S rRNA gene identity) from the Sporomusaceae family (Selenomonadales order, Negativicutes class, Firmicutes phylum). Based on the distinctive physiological and phylogenetic characteristics of strain ALET, a new genus and species Lucifera butyrica gen. nov., sp. nov., is proposed. The type strain is ALET (=JCM 19373T =DSM 27520T). Strain ALET is an incomplete oxidizer and acetate, among other products, accumulates during glycerol conversion. Strain ALET was used to extend the substrate range for sulfur reduction by constructing cocultures with the acetate oxidizer and sulfur reducer Desulfurella amilsii. The coculture was tested with glycerol as substrate in batch and chemostat experiments. Acetate formed by fermentation of glycerol by strain ALET resulted in sulfur reduction by D. amilsii. The coculture strategy offers good perspectives to use a wide range of cost-efficient substrates, including glycerol, to produce sulfide by specialized sulfur reducers. The recovery of heavy metals from metalliferous streams may become economically feasible by this approach.

Keywords: Acidophilic Sulfur reduction, Glycerol, 1,3-PDO, Lucifera butyrica, Desulfurella amilsii, Coculture (co-culture)

Received: 06 Jul 2018; Accepted: 30 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Marc Mussmann, Universität Wien, Austria

Reviewed by:

Martin W. Hahn, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Michael Pester, German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (DSMZ), Germany
Margarita Kambourova, Institute of Microbiology (BAS), Bulgaria  

Copyright: © 2018 Sánchez-Andrea, Florentino, Semerel, Strepis, Sousa and Stams. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Irene Sánchez-Andrea, Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, 6708, Netherlands,