The genome sequence of Desulfatibacillum alkenivorans AK-01: A blueprint for anaerobic alkane oxidation

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

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120 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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