Sulfate-reducing bacteria use sulfate (SO4-2) instead of oxygen (O) for their growth and reproduction by converting sulfate to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Members of sulfate-reducing bacteria are among the oldest life forms, probably more than 3 billion years old. They include closely related Desulfovibrio, Desulfomonas, and Desulfotomaculum. By reducing sulfate, the bacteria produce large amounts of hydrogen sulfide.

Desulfotomaculum is a genus of sulfate-reducing anaerobic bacteria that form heat-resistant endospores, small asexual spores that develop inside the cells of some bacteria and algae. Members of Desulfotomaculum are widely distributed in soil and the intestinal tracts of animals. Their characteristic feature is a great nutritional versatility: hydrogen gas, alcohol, fatty acids, monocarboxylic or dicarboxylic acids, alanine, or phenol-substituted organic acids. They are able to convert complex petroleum compounds into a wide spectrum of low-molecular alcohols and organic acids. Desulfotomaculum species are regarded as clostridia-like bacteria which have the additional capacity of sulfate reduction. Desulfotomaculum stains gram-negative but cell wall is gram-positive type.2

Source: Stand Genomic Sci. 2014 Jun 15; 9(3) via PubMed Central

The genus contains a number of moderately thermophilic (growing best at elevated temperatures) species which thrive at temperatures from 54° C to 65° C. D. nigrificans was isolated from hot-oil-field water. D. geothermicum was isolated from geothermal ground water.1


  1. The Prokaryotes: a handbook on the biology of bacteria. Bacteria: firmicutes, cyanobacteria. Martin Dworkin, Stanley Falkow
  2. Geobiology: objectives, concepts, perspectives. N. Noffke
  3. Microbiological examination of water and wastewater. Maria Csuros, Csaba Csuros



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