Bacterial Biogeochemistry by T. Fenchel, G.M. King and T.H. Blackburn (Auth.)

By T. Fenchel, G.M. King and T.H. Blackburn (Auth.)

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The so-called magnetotactic bacteria have proven to be common in the surface layers of aquatic sediments. They contain an intracellular chain of magnetite crystals, and therefore tend to align their movement following Earth’s magnetic field lines. This latter has been suggested to reflect a mechanism by which they can reach microaerobic environments, but the adaptive significance is still not fully understood (for references see: Armitage & Lackie, 1990; Blakemore, 1982; Fenchel, 2002; Thar & Fenchel, 2001, 2005).

The diversity of pathways illustrates the fact that throughout their evolutionary history, bacteria have “explored” various solutions to physiological challenges. These different solutions result from the fact that different genetic backgrounds and different environmental conditions can lead to different outcomes for common problems. Nonetheless, the most important pathway for CO2 reduction and assimilation is the Calvin cycle (formally the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle, CBB, or reductive ribulose biphosphate cycle) in which CO2 reduction is catalyzed by the key enzyme, ribulose biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO), as a reaction between CO2 and ribulose biphosphate to form two C-three molecules.

Part of the formaldehyde is diverted for fixation into organic compounds for biosynthesis by one of two pathways. “Group I” methanotrophs (in the β- and γ-Proteobacteria) use the “ribulose monophosphate pathway” while Group II methanotrophs (in the α-Proteobacteria) use the “serine pathway”. , Methylococcus capsulatus) also possess the CBB system for CO2 fixation. Most bacteria can synthesize amino acids through the assimilation of NH 4 , which does not require further reduction. Ammonium is the dominant N compound in anaerobic environments, but may sometimes also occur in larger quantities in aerobic habitats as well.

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