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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2010, Article ID 319527, 9 pages
Review Article

Carbon Monoxide as an Electron Donor for the Biological Reduction of Sulphate

1Laboratory of Microbiology of Anthropogenic Environments, Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 117312, prosp. 60 let Oktyabrya, 7, b.2, Moscow, Russia
2Laboratory of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (LEQUIA), University of Girona, 17071 Girona, Spain
3Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, 6703 HB, Wageningen, The Netherlands

Received 1 October 2009; Revised 10 March 2010; Accepted 31 March 2010

Academic Editor: Michael J. McInerney

Copyright © 2010 Sofiya N. Parshina et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several strains of Gram-negative and Gram-positive sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are able to use carbon monoxide (CO) as a carbon source and electron donor for biological sulphate reduction. These strains exhibit variable resistance to CO toxicity. The most resistant SRB can grow and use CO as an electron donor at concentrations up to 100%, whereas others are already severely inhibited at CO concentrations as low as 1-2%. Here, the utilization, inhibition characteristics, and enzymology of CO metabolism as well as the current state of genomics of CO-oxidizing SRB are reviewed. Carboxydotrophic sulphate-reducing bacteria can be applied for biological sulphate reduction with synthesis gas (a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) as an electron donor.