Methanol utilizing Desulfotomaculum species utilizes hydrogen in a methanol-fed sulfate-reducing bioreactor

Melike Balk*, Jan Weijma, Heleen P. Goorissen, Mariska Ronteltap, Theo A. Hansen, Alfons J.M. Stams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A sulfate-reducing bacterium, strain WW1, was isolated from a thermophilic bioreactor operated at 65°C with methanol as sole energy source in the presence of sulfate. Growth of strain WW1 on methanol or acetate was inhibited at a sulfide concentration of 200 mg l-1, while on H 2/CO2, no apparent inhibition occurred up to a concentration of 500 mg l-1. When strain WW1 was co-cultured under the same conditions with the methanol-utilizing, non-sulfate-reducing bacteria, Thermotoga lettingae and Moorella mulderi, both originating from the same bioreactor, growth and sulfide formation were observed up to 430 mg l -1. These results indicated that in the co-cultures, a major part of the electron flow was directed from methanol via H2/CO2 to the reduction of sulfate to sulfide. Besides methanol, acetate, and hydrogen, strain WW1 was also able to use formate, malate, fumarate, propionate, succinate, butyrate, ethanol, propanol, butanol, isobutanol, with concomitant reduction of sulfate to sulfide. In the absence of sulfate, strain WW1 grew only on pyruvate and lactate. On the basis of 16S rRNA analysis, strain WW1 was most closely related to Desulfotomaculum thermocisternum and Desulfotomaculum australicum. However, physiological properties of strain WW1 differed in some aspects from those of the two related bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1211
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Desulfotomaculum
  • Methanol
  • Sulfate-reducing bacterium
  • Thermophile


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