Thermolithobacter ferrireducens gen. nov., sp. nov. is a novel Gram-type-positive bacterium. It is an obligately anaerobic, chemolithoautotrophic (i.e., using hydrogen as electron donor in energy production), iron(III)-reducing organism. This bacterium exhibits, under chemolithoautotrophic conditions, the highest iron reduction rate per cell reported to date, and the iron reduction occurs over the wide pH range (measured at 25°C) of 5-10.8 and at temperatures between 35 and 90°C. Iron reducers have recently been identified as one of the most environmentally important physiological groups and are of interest for bioremediation. However, most of the work to date has been done on mesophilic proteobacterial species (i.e., Shewanella and Geobacter species).
Based on its physiological properties and its high iron reduction rate, T. ferrireducens gen. nov., sp. nov. may represent the type of microorganism responsible for the precipitation of the low-temperature “banded iron formations” found in rocks between 1.8 and 2.5 billion years old. The genome sequence will help to elucidate the iron reduction system(s) and characterize the involved enzymes. Since this bacterium grows only to a low cell density (maximally 4 x 108 cells/mL), the genomic sequence is required to efficiently study this interesting bacterium.
Principal Investigator: Juergen Wiegel (Univ. of Georgia)