Further descriptive information

The characteristics of the four current recognized species of Acidithiobacillus are shown in Table BXII.y.16. The properties, taxonomy, and differentiation of the genera of sulfur-oxidizing, che-molithoautotrophic, Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria are summarized in the chapter on the genus Thiobacillus which appears in Volume 2 Part C in this Manual. Some species of Acidithiobacillus grow chemolithoautotrophically on sulfide minerals, and A. ferrooxidans also uses the oxidation of ferrous iron [and probably uranium (IV) and copper (I) oxidation] as the source of metabolic energy. One strain of A. ferrooxidans (ATCC 21834) has been shown to have a circular chromosome (2.9 Mb) and one small plasmid (8.6 kb) (Irazabal et al., 1997). Other bacteria able to oxidize sulfide minerals or iron (II) that appear superficially similar to Acidithiobacillus, but that are taxonomically and biochemically very different, have been described. These include the Gram-negative genus Leptospirillum and the Gram-positive genera Acidimicrobium and Sulfobacillus (Balashova et al., 1974; Golovacheva and Karavaiko, 1979; Harrison and Norris, 1985; Clark and Norris, 1996; Norris et al., 1996).

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