Acetogenic Clostridia

Authored by: Harold L. Drake , Kirsten Küsel

Handbook on Clostridia

Print publication date:  March  2005
Online publication date:  March  2005

Print ISBN: 9780849316180
eBook ISBN: 9780203489819
Adobe ISBN:


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For the purposes of this chapter, acetogenic clostridia are defined as species of the genus Clostridium that utilize the acetyl-CoA pathway for the reductive synthesis of acetyl-CoA from CO2. It must be noted that the genus Clostridium was restructured in the mid-1990s [32]. This restructuring is not without consequence relative to the content of this chapter; this point will be addressed later. The acetyl-CoA pathway is a terminal electron-accepting process and is also termed the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway in recognition of the two biochemists Harland G. Wood and Lars G. Ljungdahl, who were responsible for elucidating most of its enzymological features. Although the focus of this chapter is on acetogens in the genus Clostridium, 20 other bacterial genera also contain acetogens, and the reader is directed to recent reviews that describe these other genera and outline the more far-reaching aspects of acetogenesis and enzymological features of the acetyl-CoA pathway [42,53,134,154,169]. Although emphasis will be placed on acetogenic clostridia, much of the information in this chapter applies to all acetogenic genera. Purinolytic clostridia (e.g., Clostridium acidiurici and Clostridium cylindrosporum) will not be considered in this chapter because the CO2-fixing process by which they synthesize acetate (i.e., the glycine pathway) is different than that used by acetogens (see Andreesen [5] for an excellent review on the physiology and enzymology of purinolytic clostridia).

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