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Desulfatibacillum alkenivorans AK-01 serves as a model organism for anaerobic alkane biodegradation because of its distinctive biochemistry and metabolic versatility. The D. alkenivorans genome provides a blueprint for understanding the genetic systems involved in alkane metabolism including substrate activation, CoA ligation, carbon-skeleton rearrangement and decarboxylation. Genomic analysis suggested a route to regenerate the fumarate needed for alkane activation via methylmalonyl-CoA and predicted the capability for syntrophic alkane metabolism, which was experimentally verified. Pathways involved in the oxidation of alkanes, alcohols, organic acids and n-saturated fatty acids coupled to sulfate reduction and the ability to grow chemolithoautotrophically were predicted. A complement of genes for motility and oxygen detoxification suggests that D. alkenivorans may be physiologically adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. The D. alkenivorans genome serves as a platform for further study of anaerobic, hydrocarbon-oxidizing microorganisms and their roles in bioremediation, energy recovery and global carbon cycling. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


A V Callaghan, B E L Morris, I A C Pereira, M J McInerney, R N Austin, J T Groves, J J Kukor, J M Suflita, L Y Young, G J Zylstra, B Wawrik. The genome sequence of Desulfatibacillum alkenivorans AK-01: a blueprint for anaerobic alkane oxidation. Environmental microbiology. 2012 Jan;14(1):101-13

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PMID: 21651686

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