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Isolation and Characterization of Strains CVO and FWKO B, Two Novel Nitrate-Reducing, Sulfide-Oxidizing Bacteria Isolated from Oil Field Brine

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Microbial Ecology


Bacterial strains CVO and FWKO B were isolated from produced brine at the Coleville oil field in Saskatchewan, Canada. Both strains are obligate chemolithotrophs, with hydrogen, formate, and sulfide serving as the only known energy sources for FWKO B, whereas sulfide and elemental sulfur are the only known electron donors for CVO. Neither strain uses thiosulfate as an energy source. Both strains are microaerophiles (1% O2). In addition, CVO grows by denitrification of nitrate or nitrite whereas FWKO B reduces nitrate only to nitrite. Elemental sulfur is the sole product of sulfide oxidation by FWKO B, while CVO produces either elemental sulfur or sulfate, depending on the initial concentration of sulfide. Both strains are capable of growth under strictly autotrophic conditions, but CVO uses acetate as well as CO2 as its sole carbon source. Neither strain reduces sulfate; however, FWKO B reduces sulfur and displays chemolithoautotrophic growth in the presence of elemental sulfur, hydrogen, and CO2. Both strains grow at temperatures between 5 and 40°C. CVO is capable of growth at NaCl concentrations as high as 7%. The present 16s rRNA analysis suggests that both strains are members of the epsilon subdivision of the division Proteobacteria, with CVO most closely related to Thiomicrospira denitrifcans and FWKO B most closely related to members of the genus Arcobacter. The isolation of these two novel chemolithotrophic sulfur bacteria from oil field brine suggests the presence of a subterranean sulfur cycle driven entirely by hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and nitrate.

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