In an attempt to understand better the micro-organisms involved in anaerobic degradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in the Fe(III)-reducing zone of petroleum-contaminated aquifers, Fe(III)-reducing micro-organisms were isolated from contaminated aquifer material that had been adapted for rapid oxidation of toluene coupled to Fe(III) reduction. One of these organisms, strain H-5, was enriched and isolated on acetate/Fe(III) medium. Strain H-5 is a Gram-negative strict anaerobe that grows with various simple organic acids such as acetate, propionate, lactate and fumarate as alternative electron donors with Fe(III) as the electron acceptor. In addition, strain H-5 also oxidizes long-chain fatty acids such as palmitate with Fe(III) as the sole electron acceptor. Strain H-5 can also grow by fermentation of citrate or fumarate in the absence of an alternative electron acceptor. The primary endproducts of citrate fermentation are acetate and succinate. In addition to various forms of soluble and insoluble Fe(III), strain H-5 grows with nitrate, Mn(IV), fumarate and the humic acid analogue 2,6-anthraquinone disulfonate as alternative electron acceptors. As with other organisms that can oxidize organic compounds completely with the reduction of Fe(III), cell suspensions of strain H-5 have absorbance maxima indicative of a type cytochrome(s). It is proposed that strain H-5 represents a novel genus in the phylum and that it should be named sp. nov., gen. nov.


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