Journal Article

Effect of 2-bromo-ethane sulfonate, molybdate and chloroform on acetate consumption by methanogenic and sulfate-reducing populations in freshwater sediment

Johannes C.M. Scholten, R. Conrad and Alfons J.M. Stams

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Volume 32, issue 1, pages 35-42
Published in print April 2000 |
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1574-6941 | DOI:

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The relative importance of methanogenesis and sulfate reduction in freshwater sediment supplemented with acetate was investigated. Addition of acetate stimulated both methane formation and sulfate reduction, indicating that an active aceticlastic population of methanogens and sulfate reducers was present in the sediment. Sulfate reducers were most important in the consumption of acetate. However, when sulfate reducers were inhibited, acetate was metabolised at a similar rate by methanogens. Acetate, propionate and valerate accumulated only when both processes were inhibited by the combined addition of 2-bromo-ethane sulfonate and molybdate. The relative amounts of acetate, propionate and valerate were 93, 6 and 1 mol%, respectively. These results demonstrate the role of acetate as a key intermediate in the terminal step of organic matter mineralisation in the sediment. Addition of chloroform inhibited both methanogenesis and sulfate reduction. We studied the inhibitory effect of CHCl3 on homoacetogenic bacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens. The results showed that inhibition by CHCl3 correlates with microorganisms, which operate the acetyl-CoA cleavage pathway. We propose that chloroform can be used to elucidate the role of different metabolic types of sulfate reducers to sulfate reduction in natural environments.

Keywords: Methanogenesis; Sulfate reduction; Acetate; Inhibition; Chloroform; Acetyl-CoA pathway

Journal Article.  4733 words.  Illustrated.

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