Production of organic molecules is largely depending on fossil fuels. A sustainable alternative would be the synthesis of these compounds from CO2 and a cheap energy source, such as H2, CH4, NH3, CO, sulfur compounds or iron(II). Volcanic and geothermal areas are rich in CO2 and reduced inorganic gasses and therefore habitats where novel chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms for the synthesis of organic compounds could be discovered. Here we describe “Candidatus Hydrogenisulfobacillus filiaventi” R50 gen. nov., sp. nov., a thermoacidophilic, autotrophic H2-oxidizing microorganism, that fixed CO2 and excreted no less than 0.54 mol organic carbon per mole fixed CO2. Extensive metabolomics and NMR analyses revealed that Val, Ala and Ile are the most dominant form of excreted organic carbon while the aromatic amino acids Tyr and Phe, and Glu and Lys were present at much lower concentrations. In addition to these proteinogenic amino acids, the excreted carbon consisted of homoserine lactone, homoserine and an unidentified amino acid. The biological role of the excretion remains uncertain. In the laboratory, we noticed the production under high growth rates (0.034 h−1, doubling time of 20 h) in combination with O2-limitation, which will most likely not occur in the natural habitat of this strain. Nevertheless, this large production of extracellular organic molecules from CO2 may open possibilities to use chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms for the sustainable production of important biomolecules.
Methanoperedens nitroreducens” is an anaerobic archaeon which couples the reduction of nitrate to the oxidation of methane. This microorganism is present in a wide range of aquatic environments and man-made ecosystems, such as paddy fields and wastewater treatment systems. In such environments, these archaea may experience regular oxygen exposure. However, “
. Methanoperedens nitroreducens” is able to thrive under such conditions and could be applied for the simultaneous removal of dissolved methane and nitrogenous pollutants in oxygen-limited systems. To understand what machinery “
. Methanoperedens nitroreducens” possesses to counteract the oxidative stress and survive, we characterized the response to oxygen exposure using a multi-omics approach.
The anaerobic nitrite-reducing methanotroph ‘CandidatusMethylomirabilis oxyfera’ (‘Ca.M. oxyfera’) produces oxygen from nitrite by a novel pathway. The major part of the O2is used for methane activation and oxidation, which proceeds by the route well known for aerobic methanotrophs. Residual oxygen may serve other purposes, such as respiration. We have found that the genome of ‘Ca.M. oxyfera’ harbours four sets of genes encoding terminal respiratory oxidases: two cytochromecoxidases, a third putativebo-type ubiquinol oxidase, and a cyanide-insensitive alternative oxidase. Illumina sequencing of reverse-transcribed total community RNA and quantitative real-time RT-PCR showed that all four sets of genes were transcribed, albeit at low levels. Oxygen-uptake and inhibition experiments, UV–visible absorption spectral characteristics and EPR spectroscopy of solubilized membranes showed that only one of the four oxidases is functionally produced by ‘Ca.M. oxyfera’, notably the membrane-boundbo-type terminal oxidase. These findings open a new role for terminal respiratory oxidases in anaerobic systems, and are an additional indication of the flexibility of terminal oxidases, of which the distribution among anaerobic micro-organisms may be largely underestimated.