Faculté des sciences

Is the contribution of bacteria to terrestrial carbon budget greatly underestimated ?

Braissant, Olivier ; Verrecchia, Eric P. ; Aragno, Michel

In: Naturwissenschaften, 2002, vol. 89, no. 8, p. 366-370

Some commonly found species of soil bacteria use low molecular weight organic acids as their sole source of carbon and energy. This study shows that acids such as citrate and oxalate (produced in large amounts by fungi and plants) can rapidly be consumed by these bacteria. Two strains, Ralstonia eutropha and Xanthobacter autotrophicus, were cultured on acetate- and citrate-rich media. The... More

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    Summary
    Some commonly found species of soil bacteria use low molecular weight organic acids as their sole source of carbon and energy. This study shows that acids such as citrate and oxalate (produced in large amounts by fungi and plants) can rapidly be consumed by these bacteria. Two strains, Ralstonia eutropha and Xanthobacter autotrophicus, were cultured on acetate- and citrate-rich media. The resulting CO2 and/or HCO3- reacted with calcium ions to precipitate two polymorphs of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), calcite and vaterite, depending on the quantity of slime produced by the strains. This production of primary calcium carbonate crystals by oxalate- and citrate-degrading bacteria from soil organic carbon sources highlights the existence of an important and underestimated potential carbon sink.