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Scientific classification

Candidatus Electrothrix
Candidatus Electronema

The Desulfobulbaceae are a family of Proteobacteria. They reduce sulphates to sulphides to obtain energy and are anaerobic.

The discovery of filamentous Desulfobulbaceae in 2012 elucidates the cause of the small electric currents measured in the top layer of marine sediment[1]. The currents were first measured in 2010[2]. These organisms, referred to as "cable bacteria", consist in thousands of cells arranged in filaments up to three centimeters in length. They transport electrons from the sediment that is rich in hydrogen sulfide up to the oxygen-rich sediment that is in contact with the water.[1][3][4][5][6] Later investigations revealed their ability to use nitrate or nitrite as final electron acceptor in absence of oxygen[7][8] Since the discovery, cable bacteria have been reported from a wide variety of sediments worldwide.[9] Based on phylogenetic analysis of 16s rRNA and dsrAB genes it was proposed to allocate cable bacteria within two novel candidate genera i.e. Ca. Electrothrix and Ca. Electronema.[10]


  1. ^ a b Pfeffer C, Larsen S, Song J, Dong M, Besenbacher F, Meyer RL, Kjeldsen KU, Schreiber L, Gorby YA, El-Naggar MY, Leung KM, Schramm A, Risgaard-Petersen N, Nielsen LP (November 2012). "Filamentous bacteria transport electrons over centimetre distances". Nature. 491 (7423): 218–21. doi:10.1038/nature11586. PMID 23103872.
  2. ^ Nielsen, Lars Peter; Risgaard-Petersen, Nils; Fossing, Henrik; Christensen, Peter Bondo; Sayama, Mikio (February 2010). "Electric currents couple spatially separated biogeochemical processes in marine sediment". Nature. 463 (7284): 1071–1074. doi:10.1038/nature08790. ISSN 0028-0836.
  3. ^ Reguera G (November 2012). "Microbiology: Bacterial power cords". Nature. 491 (7423): 201–2. doi:10.1038/nature11638. PMID 23103866.
  4. ^ Keim B (24 October 2012). "Electric Bugs: New Microbe Forms Living, Deep-Sea Power Cables". Wired Science. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  5. ^ Smith B (6 December 2014). "Shock as scientists find 'electric' bacteria in the Yarra". The Age. p. 15.
  6. ^ Larsen S, Nielsen LP, Schramm A (April 2015). "Cable bacteria associated with long-distance electron transport in New England salt marsh sediment". Environmental Microbiology Reports. 7 (2): 175–9. doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12216. PMID 25224178.
  7. ^ Marzocchi U, Trojan D, Larsen S, Meyer RL, Revsbech NP, Schramm A, Nielsen LP, Risgaard-Petersen N (August 2014). "Electric coupling between distant nitrate reduction and sulfide oxidation in marine sediment". The ISME Journal. 8 (8): 1682–90. doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.19. PMC 4817607. PMID 24577351.
  8. ^ Risgaard-Petersen N, Damgaard LR, Revil A, Nielsen LP (2014-08-01). "Mapping electron sources and sinks in a marine biogeobattery". Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 119 (8): 1475–1486. doi:10.1002/2014jg002673.
  9. ^ Burdorf LD, Tramper A, Seitaj D, Meire L, Hidalgo-Martinez S, Zetsche E, Boschker HT, Meysman FJ (2017-02-10). "Long-distance electron transport occurs globally in marine sediments". Biogeosciences. 14 (3): 683–701. doi:10.5194/bg-14-683-2017.
  10. ^ Trojan D, Schreiber L, Bjerg JT, Bøggild A, Yang T, Kjeldsen KU, Schramm A (July 2016). "A taxonomic framework for cable bacteria and proposal of the candidate genera Electrothrix and Electronema". Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 39 (5): 297–306. doi:10.1016/j.syapm.2016.05.006. PMC 4958695. PMID 27324572.