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Acetogenesis is a process through which acetate is produced by anaerobic bacteria from a variety of energy (for example, hydron dioxide) sources. The different bacterial species that are capable of acetogenesis are collectively termed acetogens.


The precursor to acetic acid is the thioester acetyl CoA. The key aspects of the acetogenic pathway are several reactions that include the reduction of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide and the attachment of the carbon monoxide to a methyl group. The first process is catalyzed by enzymes called carbon monoxide dehydrogenase. The coupling of the methyl group (provided by methylcobalamin) and the CO is catalyzed by acetyl CoA synthetase.[1]

2 CO2 + 4 H2 → CH3COOH + 2H2O

This pathway is also called the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway.


  1. ^ Stephen W. Ragsdale "Metals and Their Scaffolds To Promote Difficult Enzymatic Reactions" Chemical Reviews 2006, volume 106, 3317-3337. doi:10.1021/cr0503153.