Interspecies hydrogen transfer

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Interspecies hydrogen transfer (IHT) is a form of interspecies electron transfer.[1] It is a syntrophic process by which H2 is transferred from one organism to another, particularly in the rumen and other anaerobic environments.[1]

IHT was discovered between Methanobacterium bryantii strain M.o.H and an "S" organism in 1967 by Marvin Bryant, Eileen Wolin, Meyer Wolin, and Ralph Wolfe at the University of Illinois. The two form a culture that was mistaken as a species Methanobacillus omelianskii.[2] It was shown in 1973 that this process occurs between Ruminococcus albus and Wolinella succinogenes.[3] A more recent publication describes how the gene expression profiles of these organisms changes when they undergo interspecies hydrogen transfer; of note, a switch to an electron-confurcating hydrogenase occurs in R. albus 7.[4]

This process affects the carbon cycle: methanogens can participate in interspecies hydrogen transfer combining H2 and CO2 to produce CH4.[5] Besides methanogens, acetogens, and sulfate-reducing bacteria can participate in IHT.[6]


  1. ^ a b Stams, Alfons J. M.; Plugge, Caroline M. (2009). "Electron transfer in syntrophic communities of anaerobic bacteria and archaea". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 7 (8): 568–577. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2166. PMID 19609258.
  2. ^ Bryant, M. P.; Wolin, E. A.; Wolin, M. J.; Wolfe, R. S. (1967-01-01). "Methanobacillus omelianskii, a symbiotic association of two species of bacteria". Archiv für Mikrobiologie. 59 (1): 20–31. doi:10.1007/bf00406313. ISSN 0003-9276. PMID 5602458.
  3. ^ Iannotti, E. L.; Kafkewitz, D.; Wolin, M. J.; Bryant, M. P. (1973-06-01). "Glucose Fermentation Products of Ruminococcus albus Grown in Continuous Culture with Vibrio succinogenes: Changes Caused by Interspecies Transfer of H2". Journal of Bacteriology. 114 (3): 1231–1240. ISSN 0021-9193. PMC 285387. PMID 4351387.
  4. ^ Greening, Chris; Geier, Renae; Wang, Cecilia; Woods, Laura C.; Morales, Sergio E.; McDonald, Michael J.; Rushton-Green, Rowena; Morgan, Xochitl C.; Koike, Satoshi; Leahy, Sinead C.; Kelly, William J. (October 2019). "Diverse hydrogen production and consumption pathways influence methane production in ruminants". The ISME Journal. 13 (10): 2617–2632. doi:10.1038/s41396-019-0464-2. ISSN 1751-7370. PMC 6776011. PMID 31243332.
  5. ^ Thauer, Rudolf K.; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; Seedorf, Henning; Buckel, Wolfgang; Hedderich, Reiner (2008). "Methanogenic archaea: ecologically relevant differences in energy conservation". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 6 (8): 579–591. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1931. PMID 18587410.
  6. ^ Nakamura, Noriko; Lin, Henry C.; McSweeney, Christopher S.; Mackie, Roderick I.; Gaskins, H. Rex (2010-01-01). "Mechanisms of microbial hydrogen disposal in the human colon and implications for health and disease". Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. 1: 363–395. doi:10.1146/ ISSN 1941-1413. PMID 22129341.