Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The anaerobic pathway of chitin decomposition by chitinoclastic bacteria was examined with an emphasis on end product coupling to other salt marsh bacteria. Actively growing chitinoclastic bacterial isolates produced primarily acetate, H2, and CO2 in broth culture. No sulfate-reducing or methanogenic isolates grew on chitin as sole carbon source or produced any measurable degradation products. Mixed cultures of chitin degraders with sulfate reducers resulted in positive sulfide production. Mixed cultures of chitin-degrading isolates with methanogens resulted in the production of CH4 with reductions in headspace CO2 and H2. The combination of all three metabolic types resulted in the simultaneous production of methane and sulfide, with more methane being produced in mixed cultures containing C02-reducing methanogens and acetoclastic sulfate reducers because of less interspecific H2 competition.
Boyer, JN, End-Products Of Anaerobic Chitin Degradation By Salt-Marsh Bacteria As Substrates For Dissimilatory Sulfate Reduction And Methanogenesis (1986). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 52(6), 1415-1418.