Dense Populations of a Giant Sulfur Bacterium in Namibian Shelf Sediments

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Science  16 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5413, pp. 493-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5413.493

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A previously unknown giant sulfur bacterium is abundant in sediments underlying the oxygen minimum zone of the Benguela Current upwelling system. The bacterium has a spherical cell that exceeds by up to 100-fold the biovolume of the largest known prokaryotes. On the basis of 16S ribosomal DNA sequence data, these bacteria are closely related to the marine filamentous sulfur bacteriaThioploca, abundant in the upwelling area off Chile and Peru. Similar to Thioploca, the giant bacteria oxidize sulfide with nitrate that is accumulated to ≤800 millimolar in a central vacuole.

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