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Neutrophilic Iron-Depositing Microorganisms
Citation key Szewzyk2011
Author Szewzyk, Ulrich and Szewzyk, Regine and Schmidt, Bertram and Braun, Burga
Title of Book Biofilm Highlights
Pages 63-79
Year 2011
ISBN 978-3-642-19939-4
DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-19940-0_4
Volume 5
Editor Flemming, Hans-Curt and Wingender, Jost and Szewzyk, Ulrich
Publisher Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Series Springer Series on Biofilms
Abstract Neutrophilic iron-depositing microorganisms include various groups of bacteria, algae, and protozoa. The most striking feature of these microorganisms is their ability to precipitate ferric iron around their cells and colonies in many different forms. Growth of these microorganisms has various practical implications, for example, formation of iron ore in many parts of the world, aging of water wells, and clogging of drinking water pipes. Morphological description of many genera and species of iron-depositing bacteria by microscopy dates back to the nineteenth century, but only very few pure cultures of bacteria such as Leptothrix discophora and Gallionella ferruginea have been obtained in the last decades. Therefore, little has been known on the physiology or phylogeny of these bacteria. Using a combination of different cultivation techniques and molecular methods we were able to demonstrate a large diversity of iron-depositing bacteria in natural habitats as well as in drinking water systems. Pure cultures were obtained for many microscopically defined morphotypes belonging to well-known iron-depositing genera such as Leptothrix, Pedomicrobium, Pseudomonas, and Hyphomicrobium. In addition, many cultures isolated were not closely related to known iron bacteria according to phylogenetic analysis. Clones obtained by clone libraries from natural habitats also indicated that known genera of iron-depositing bacteria are much more diverse than assumed so far. With the pure cultures and clones in hand, we are now able to study the physiology of iron-depositing bacteria and their possible role in natural and technical habitats.
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Head of Chair

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Szewzyk
sec. BH 6-1
Room BH-N 604
Tel +49 30 314 73 461


Bärbel Minx
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Room BH-N 603
Tel +49 30 314 73 460

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Adress Chair of Environmental Microbiology

Environmental Microbiology
Institute of Environmental Technology
Faculty Faculty of Process Sciences
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Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1
10587 Berlin
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