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Comparison of sulfide-oxidizing Sulfurimonas strains reveals a new mode of thiosulfate formation in subsurface environments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sven LahmeORCiD, Dr Lucy Eland, Professor Anil Wipat, Professor Ian Head, Professor Casey Hubert



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell, 2020.

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Sulfur‐oxidizing Sulfurimonas spp. are widespread in sediments, hydrothermal vent fields, aquifers and subsurface environments such as oil reservoirs where they play an important role in the sulfur cycle. We determined the genome sequence of the oil field isolate Sulfurimonas sp. strain CVO and compared its gene expression during nitrate‐dependent sulfide oxidation to the coastal sediment isolate Sulfurimonas denitrificans. Formation of elemental sulfur (S0) and high expression of sulfide quinone oxidoreductase (SQR) genes indicates that sulfide oxidation in both strains is mediated by SQR. Subsequent oxidation of S0 was achieved by the sulfur oxidation enzyme complex (SOX). In the coastal S. denitrificans, the genes are arranged and expressed as two clusters: soxXY1Z1AB and soxCDY2Z2H, and sulfate was the sole metabolic end product. By contrast, the oil field strain CVO has only the soxCDY2Z2H cluster and not soxXY1Z1AB. Despite the absence of the soxXY1Z1AB cluster, strain CVO oxidized S0 to thiosulfate and sulfate, demonstrating that soxCDY2Z2H genes alone are sufficient for S0 oxidation in Sulfurimonas spp. and that thiosulfate is an additional metabolic end product. Screening of publicly available metagenomes revealed that Sulfurimonas spp. with only the soxCDY2Z2H cluster are widespread suggesting this mechanism of thiosulfate formation is environmentally significant.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lahme S, Callbeck CM, Eland LE, Wipat A, Enning D, Head IM, Hubert CRJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Microbiology

Year: 2020

Volume: 22

Issue: 5

Pages: 1784-1800

Print publication date: 01/05/2020

Online publication date: 15/12/2019

Acceptance date: 11/12/2019

Date deposited: 08/01/2020

ISSN (print): 1462-2912

ISSN (electronic): 1462-2920

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14894


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Funder referenceFunder name
660401European Commission
EM09030ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co.