Catalytic Activities of Methanogenic Bacteria.
Lorowitz WH; Nagle DP Jr.; Tanner RS
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Methane-producing bacteria are key players in the anaerobic degradation of organic matter. They have been found in environments relevant to mineral resources, such as subterranean brines and water- handling systems, they have been implicated in the corrosion of metal, and they are vital in anaerobic waste processing, yielding methane in a bioremediation process. Investigations in our laboratory include elucidating the role of formate in a formate- requiring methanogen that does not catabolize formate and determining the parameters that influence the rate and extent of metal corrosion by methanogens. The formate requirement appears linked to reduced activity of the enzyme formate dehydrogenase (fdh). Fdh has been purified and preliminary characterization performed. An anabolic role for formate may be widespread among bacteria, and a screen has been developed to identify these organisms. H2-utilizing anaerobic bacteria have the potential to corrode metal by cathodic depolarization. Our studies on cathodic depolarization have led to increases in the rate and extent of corrosion, as well as expansion of the metals known to be susceptible to this biological mechanism.
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University of Oklahoma