Biocathode communities are of interest for a variety of applications, including electrosynthesis, bioremediation, and biosensors, yet much remains to be understood about the biological processes that occur to enable these communities to grow. One major difficulty in understanding these communities is that the critical autotrophic organisms are difficult to cultivate. An uncultivated, electroautotrophic bacterium previously identified as an uncultivated member of the family Chromatiaceae appears to be a key organism in an autotrophic biocathode microbial community. Metagenomic, metaproteomic and metatranscriptomic characterization of this community indicates that there is likely a single organism that utilizes electrons from the cathode to fix CO2, yet this organism has not been obtained in pure culture. Fluorescence in situ hybridization reveals that the organism grows as rod-shaped cells approximately 1.8 × 0.6 µm, and forms large clumps on the cathode. The genomic DNA G+C content was 59.2 mol%. Here we identify the key features of this organism and propose 'Candidatus Tenderia electrophaga', within the Gammaproteobacteria on the basis of low nucleotide and predicted protein sequence identity to known members of the orders Chromatiales and Thiotrichales.
Journal: International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology