Temperature and its control of isotope fractionation by a sulfate-reducing bacterium

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Abstract

A synthesis of previous results, which we dub the “standard model,” provides a prediction as to how isotope fractionation during sulfate reduction should respond to physiological variables such as specific rate of sulfate reduction and environmental variables such as substrate availability and temperature. The standard model suggests that isotope fractionation should decrease with increasing specific rates of sulfate reduction (rate per cell). Furthermore, the standard model predicts that low fractionations should be found at both high and low temperatures whereas the highest fractionations should be found in the intermediate temperature range. These fractionation trends are controlled, as a function of temperature, by the balance between the transfer rates of sulfate into and out of the cell and the exchange between the sulfur pools internal to the organism. We test this standard model by conducting experiments on the growth physiology and isotope fractionation, as a function of temperature, by the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans (DSMZ 642). Our results contrast with the “standard model” by showing a positive correlation between specific rates of sulfate reduction and fractionation. Also by contrast with the standard model, we found the highest fractionations at low and high temperatures and the lowest fractionations in the intermediate temperature range. We develop a fractionation model which can be used to explain both our results as well as the results of the “standard model.” Differences in fractionation with temperature relate to differences in the specific temperature response of internal enzyme kinetics as well as the exchange rates of sulfate in and out of the cell. It is expected that the kinetics of these processes will show strain-specific differences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume70
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)548-561
ISSN0016-7037
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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