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An Obligately Photosynthetic Bacterial Anaerobe from a Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent

J. Thomas Beatty, Jörg Overmann, Michael T. Lince, Ann K. Manske, Andrew S. Lang, Robert E. Blankenship, Cindy L. Van Dover, Tracey A. Martinson, F. Gerald Plumley and Bob B. Buchanan
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 102, No. 26 (Jun. 28, 2005), pp. 9306-9310
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3375891
Page Count: 5
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An Obligately Photosynthetic Bacterial Anaerobe from a Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent
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Abstract

The abundance of life on Earth is almost entirely due to biological photosynthesis, which depends on light energy. The source of light in natural habitats has heretofore been thought to be the sun, thus restricting photosynthesis to solar photic environments on the surface of the Earth. If photosynthesis could take place in geothermally illuminated environments, it would increase the diversity of photosynthetic habitats both on Earth and on other worlds that have been proposed to possibly harbor life. Green sulfur bacteria are anaerobes that require light for growth by the oxidation of sulfur compounds to reduce CO2 to organic carbon, and are capable of photosynthetic growth at extremely low light intensities. We describe the isolation and cultivation of a previously unknown green sulfur bacterial species from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent, where the only source of light is geothermal radiation that includes wavelengths absorbed by photosynthetic pigments of this organism.

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