SUMMARY: Several thiobacilli and were grown in chemostat culture with inorganic sulphur compounds as growth-limiting energy substrates for autotrophic growth. and were all able to use thiosulphate, trithionate or tetrathionate as sole energy substrates, as was grown at 72 °C. “True growth yields” ( ) were estimated for the organisms and showed yields of to be the same on trithionate and thiosulphate, thereby suggesting that only oxidative, and not substrate-level, phosphorylation is involved in energy conservation in this organism. The yield data suggested that substrate-level phosphorylation could, however, be significant in only grew with thiosulphate, with which it gave yield values similar to those of and exhibited maximum specific growth rates on thiosulphate, trithionate and tetrathionate of 0·55, 0·23-0·25 and <0·06 h respectively. Its yields on all three were much greater than those of the thiobacilli: the on thiosulphate was in the range 18·0-22·8 g mol, but the organisms contained only about 29% carbon and 48% protein. These values do, however, make the highest-yielding inorganic-sulphur-oxidizing chemolithoautotroph yet described.


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