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Photocatabolism of Aromatic Compounds by the Phototrophic Purple Bacterium Rhodomicrobium vannielii

By Glenn E. Wright and Michael T. Madigan


The phototrophic purple non-sulfur bacterium Rhodomicrobium vannielii grew phototrophically (illuminated anaerobic conditions) on a variety of aromatic compounds (in the presence of CO(2)). Benzoate was universally photocatabolized by all five strains of R. vannielii examined, and benzyl alcohol was photocatabolized by four of the five strains. Catabolism of benzyl alcohol by phototrophic bacteria has not been previously reported. Other aromatic substrates supporting reasonably good growth of R. vannielii strains were the methoxylated benzoate derivatives vanillate (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoate) and syringate (4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxybenzoate). However, catabolism of vanillate and syringate led to significant inhibition of bacteriochlorophyll synthesis in R. vannielii cells, eventually causing cultures to cease growing. No such effect on photopigment synthesis in cells grown on benzoate or benzyl alcohol was observed. Along with a handful of other species of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria, the ability of the species R. vannielii to photocatabolize aromatic compounds indicates that this organism may also be ecologically significant as a consumer of aromatic derivatives in illuminated anaerobic habitats in nature

Topics: Physiology and Biotechnology
Year: 1991
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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