Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Decoding A Sulfate-breathing Bug

Date:
April 14, 2004
Source:
The Institute For Genomic Research
Summary:
Paving the way for better methods to protect pipelines and remediate metallic pollutants, scientists have sequenced the genome of a sulfate-breathing bacterium that can damage oil and natural gas pipelines and corrode oilfield equipment.

Rockville, MD – Paving the way for better methods to protect pipelines and remediate metallic pollutants, scientists have sequenced the genome of a sulfate-breathing bacterium that can damage oil and natural gas pipelines and corrode oilfield equipment.

The microbe, Desulfovibrio vulgaris, plays a role in a process called microbially-influenced corrosion (MIC), which has caused staggering economic losses in the petroleum industry and at other industrial sites around the world. Such corrosion is caused by bacteria acting together in a biofilm that covers metal pipelines or equipment.

The analysis of the microbe's genes is expected to help researchers find better ways to minimize such damage as well as to develop methods to use such microbes to help remediate metallic pollutants such as uranium and chromium.

Desulfovibrio is a model for the study of sulfate-reducing bacteria, which use hydrogen, organic acid, or alcohols as electron donors to "reduce" (that is, add electrons to) certain metals, including uranium. Other sequenced microbes that are capable of such reduction include Shewanella oneidensis and Geobacter sulfurreducens, both of which were sequenced at TIGR.

"This genome will be a valuable asset to the community of scientists around the world who are studying the sulfate-reducing bacteria and their role in corrosion," says John Heidelberg, the TIGR assistant investigator who led the sequencing project.

The study, to be published in the May 2004 issue of Nature Biotechnology and posted on the journal's website this week, was supported by the Microbial Genome Program of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

In their analysis of the D. vulgaris genome, scientists found a network of c-type cytochromes – proteins which facilitate electron transfers and metal reduction during the organism's energy metabolism. The presence of those c-type cytochrome genes are thought to give D. vulgaris a significant capacity and flexibility to reduce metals.

The study also found that the relative arrangements of genes involved in energy transfer provides evidence that the microbe uses a process called hydrogen cycling to increase the efficiency of its energy metabolism.

"With the genome sequence, we have a frame in which our theories and data must function. We have yet to see the frame very clearly, but that is developing," says Judy D. Wall, a biochemist at the University of Missouri-Columbia who collaborated on the genome analysis.

Wall says that having the genome of D. vulgaris will help biochemists determine exactly how the microbe corrodes iron and perhaps develop better ways to prevent that damage. "Understanding how sulfate-reducing bacteria use substrates to make energy and how they position themselves in the environment …is fundamental to efforts to control the bacteria or use them for our purposes," she says. Gerrit Voordouw, a microbiologist at the University of Calgary in Canada and a collaborator on the project, is an expert on the organism. "Knowing the genomic sequence will allow detailed unraveling of the mechanism by which sulfate-reducing bacteria like D. vulgaris use metallic iron as electron donors," he says.

Voordouw adds that future microarray studies of D. vulgaris will make it possible to determine which of its genes are turned on or off when the microbe is growing on a metal surface and is involved in the corrosion process. "This knowledge is a prerequisite to devising more intelligent ways to prevent microbially induced corrosion."

In addition, the genome sequence – by defining genes of interest in the process of metal ion reduction and metal ion precipitation – is expected to help scientists find ways to use D. vulgaris or similar sulfate-reducing microbes to help clean up pollution by toxic metals near mines or similar sites.

Says Voordouw: "This is important to help combat the spread of toxic metal ions in the environment at mining sites."

###

The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) is a not-for-profit research institute based in Rockville, Maryland. TIGR, which sequenced the first complete genome of a free-living organism in 1995, has been at the forefront of the genomic revolution since the institute was founded in 1992. TIGR conducts research involving the structural, functional, and comparative analysis of genomes and gene products in viruses, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Institute For Genomic Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Institute For Genomic Research. "Decoding A Sulfate-breathing Bug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040414004505.htm>.
The Institute For Genomic Research. (2004, April 14). Decoding A Sulfate-breathing Bug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040414004505.htm
The Institute For Genomic Research. "Decoding A Sulfate-breathing Bug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040414004505.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins