sulfur bacterium

      any of a diverse group of microorganisms capable of metabolizing sulfur and its compounds and important in the sulfur cycle (q.v.) in nature. Some of the common sulfur substances that are used by these bacteria as an energy source are hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur, and thiosulfate (S2O32-). The final product of sulfur oxidation is sulfate (SO42-).

      Thiobacillus, widespread in marine and terrestrial habitats, oxidizes sulfur, producing sulfates useful to plants; in deep ground deposits it generates sulfuric acid, which dissolves metals in mines but also corrodes concrete and steel. Desulfovibrio desulficans reduces sulfates in waterlogged soils and sewage to hydrogen sulfide, a gas with the rotten egg odour so common to such places. Thiothrix, common in sulfur springs and in sewage, and Sulfolobus, confined to sulfur-rich hot springs, transform hydrogen sulfide to elemental sulfur.

      Many species in the families Chromatiaceae (purple sulfur bacteria) and Chlorobiaceae (green sulfur bacteria) utilize energy from light in an oxygen-free environment to transform sulfur and its compounds to sulfates.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sulfur bacterium — n any of various bacteria capable of reducing sulfur compounds esp one of the genus Thiobacillus * * * a bacterium that oxidizes hydrogen sulfide, sulfur, or thiosulfate …   Medical dictionary

  • sulfur bacterium — noun : a bacterium (as many members of the Rhodobacteriinae) possessing the power of reducing sulfur compounds …   Useful english dictionary

  • sulfur bacterium — noun Date: 1891 any of various bacteria (especially genus Thiobacillus) capable of metabolizing sulfur compounds …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sulfur bacterium — noun Any of several bacteria which oxidize inorganic sulfur compounds, especially those bacteria of the genus Thiobacillus …   Wiktionary

  • purple sulfur bacterium — a photosynthetic, autotrophic, anaerobic bacterium of the family Chromatiaceae. Purple sulfur bacteria reduce carbon dioxide and oxidize sulfides and elemental sulfur in the presence of the pigment bacteriochlorophyll a or b …   Medical dictionary

  • purple sulfur bacterium — noun : any of numerous sulfur bacteria (as of the family Thiorhodaceae) appearing reddish or purplish due to the combination of bacteriochlorophyll and carotenoid pigments in the cell …   Useful english dictionary

  • green sulfur bacterium — noun : a member of the family Chlorobacteriaceae see chlorobacterium …   Useful english dictionary

  • sulfur bacteria — noun any bacterium of the genus Thiobacillus • Syn: ↑thiobacteria, ↑sulphur bacteria • Hypernyms: ↑thiobacillus * * * several species of bacteria, esp. of the genera Beggiatoa and Thiobacillus, that have the ability to utilize sulfur or inorganic …   Useful english dictionary

  • purple bacterium — noun : any of various free living bacteria that contain bacteriochlorophyll marked by purplish or sometimes reddish or brownish pigments compare purple sulfur bacterium …   Useful english dictionary

  • purple bacterium — n any of various free living bacteria that contain bacteriochlorophyll marked by purplish or sometimes reddish or brownish pigments * * * a photosynthetic bacterium that reduces CO2 in the presence of sulfur compounds; there are two types: the… …   Medical dictionary

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