Acetate Degradation at Low pH by the Moderately Acidophilic Sulfate Reducer Acididesulfobacillus acetoxydans gen. nov. sp. nov.

Irene Sánchez-Andrea*, Charlotte M. van der Graaf, Bastian Hornung, Nicole J. Bale, Monika Jarzembowska, Diana Z. Sousa, W.I.C. Rijpstra, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté, Alfons J.M. Stams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In acid drainage environments, biosulfidogenesis by sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) attenuates the extreme conditions by enabling the precipitation of metals as their sulfides, and the neutralization of acidity through proton consumption. So far, only a handful of moderately acidophilic SRB species have been described, most of which are merely acidotolerant. Here, a novel species within a novel genus of moderately acidophilic SRB is described, Acididesulfobacillus acetoxydans gen. nov. sp. nov. strain INE, able to grow at pH 3.8. Bioreactor studies with strain INE at optimum (5.0) and low (3.9) pH for growth showed that strain INE alkalinized its environment, and that this was more pronounced at lower pH. These studies also showed the capacity of strain INE to completely oxidize organic acids to CO2, which is uncommon among acidophilic SRB. Since organic acids are mainly in their protonated form at low pH, which increases their toxicity, their complete oxidation may be an acid stress resistance mechanism. Comparative proteogenomic and membrane lipid analysis further indicated that the presence of saturated ether-bound lipids in the membrane, and their relative increase at lower pH, was a protection mechanism against acid stress. Interestingly, other canonical acid stress resistance mechanisms, such as a Donnan potential and increased active charge transport, did not appear to be active.

Original languageEnglish
Article number816605
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


  • acetate oxidation
  • acid rock/mine drainage
  • Acididesulfobacillus
  • acidophiles
  • bioremediation
  • Desulfitobacterium
  • Desulfosporosinus
  • sulfate-reducing bacteria


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