Schink, Bernhard

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Syntrophy in Methanogenic Degradation

2018-11-05, Müller, Nicolai, Timmers, Peer, Plugge, Caroline M., Stams, Alfons J. M., Schink, Bernhard

This chapter deals with microbial communities of bacteria and archaea which closely cooperate in methanogenic degradation and perform metabolic functions in this community that neither one of them could carry out alone. The methanogenic degradation of fatty acids, alcohols, most aromatic compounds, amino acids, and others is performed in partnership between fermenting bacteria and methanogenic Archaea. The energy available in these processes is very small, attributing only fractions of an ATP unit per reaction run to every partner. The biochemical strategies taken include in most cases reactions of substrate-level phosphorylation combined with various kinds of reversed electron transport systems in which part of the gained ATP is reinvested into thermodynamically unfavorable electron transport processes. Altogether, these systems represent fascinating examples of energy efficiency at the lowermost energy level that allows microbial life.

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Methanogens : Syntrophic Metabolism

2018-03-14, Sieber, Jessica R., McInerney, Michael J., Müller, Nicolai, Schink, Bernhard, Gunsalus, Rob P., Plugge, Caroline M.

Syntrophy is a mutualistic interaction in which two metabolically different types of microorganisms are linked by the need to keep metabolites exchanged between the two partners at low concentrations to make the overall metabolism of both organisms feasible. In most cases, the cooperation is based on the transfer of hydrogen, formate, or acetate from fermentative bacteria to methanogens to make the degradation of electron-rich substrates thermodynamically favorable. Syntrophic metabolism proceeds at very low Gibbs’ free energy changes, close to the minimum free energy change needed to conserve energy biologically, which is the energy needed to transport one proton across the cytoplasmic membrane. Pathways for syntrophic degradation of fatty acids predict the net synthesis of about one-third of an ATP per round of catabolism. Syntrophic metabolism entails critical oxidation-reduction reactions in which H2 or formate production would be thermodynamically unfavorable unless energy is invested. Molecular insights into the membrane processes involved in ion translocation and reverse electron transport revealed that syntrophs harbor multiple systems for reverse electron transfer. While much evidence supports the interspecies transfer of H2 and formate, other mechanisms of interspecies electron transfer exist including cysteine cycling and possibly direct interspecies electron transfer as electric current via conductive pili or (semi)conductive minerals.

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Syntrophy in methanogenic degradation

2010, Worm, Petra, Müller, Nicolai, Plugge, Caroline M., Stams, Alfons J. M., Schink, Bernhard