Oxidation of succinate to fumarate is an energetically difficult step in the biochemical pathway of propionate oxidation by syntrophic methanogenic cultures. Therefore, the effect of fumarate on propionate oxidation by two different propionate-oxidizing cultures was investigated. When the methanogens in a newly enriched propionate-oxidizing methanogenic culture were inhibited by bromoethanesulfonate, fumarate could act as an apparent terminal electron acceptor in propionate oxidation. 13C-nuclear magnetic resonance experiments showed that propionate was carboxylated to succinate while fumarate was partly oxidized to acetate and partly reduced to succinate. Fumarate alone was fermented to succinate and CO2. Bacteria growing on fumarate were enriched and obtained free of methanogens. Propionate was metabolized by these bacteria when either fumarate or Methanospirillum hungatii was added. In cocultures with Syntrophobacter wolinii, such effects were not observed upon addition of fumarate. Possible slow growth of S. wolinii on fumarate could not be demonstrated because of the presence of a Desulfovibrio strain which grew rapidly on fumarate in both the absence and presence of sulfate.
|Journal||Applied and Environmental Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 1993|