Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) from termites have been assigned to the genus Desulfovibrio. Desulfovibrio intestinalis lives in the gut of the Australian termite Mastotermes darwiniensis. For the first time we were able to enrich and identify a sulfate-reducing bacterium from the gut of the rose-chafer Pachnoda marginata, which showed the highest 16S rDNA sequence identity (93%) to Desulfovibrio intestinalis and Desulfovibrio strain STL1. Compared to Mastotermes darwiniensis (1x10(7) cells of SRB per ml gut contents), sulfate-reducing bacteria occurred in higher numbers in the gut contents of Pachnoda marginata reaching cell titers of up to 2x10(8) cells per ml gut contents. In vitro sulfate reduction rates were determined with SRB from the gut contents of the termite Mastotermes darwiniensis and the beetle Pachnoda marginata. Due to the higher cell titer, the sulfate reduction rate of Pachnoda marginata was 10(4) nmolxh-1xml-1 and therefore, 21 times higher than that of Mastotermes darwiniensis. In addition, we detected in vivo sulfate reduction in Mastotermes darwiniensis, which indicates that sulfate reducers play an active role in the sulfur metabolism in the termite gut.