Chemolithoautotrophic metabolism of anaerobic extremely thermophilic archaebacteria

Nature. 1983 Feb 10;301(5900):511-3. doi: 10.1038/301511a0.


Several types of extremely thermophilic archaebacteria have recently been isolated from solfataric water holes, hot springs and hot sea floors. It has been shown that some of them can live using sulphur respiration of reduced carbon substrates as a source of energy, a type of metabolism previously described for the eubacterium Desulfuromonas. We report here that several extremely thermophilic archaebacteria can live with carbon dioxide as their sole carbon source, obtaining energy from the oxidation of hydrogen by sulphur, producing hydrogen sulphide. They are thus capable of a new type of anaerobic, purely chemolithoautotrophic metabolism, a possible primaeval mode of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Archaea / genetics*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Hydrogen / metabolism
  • Sulfur / metabolism


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Sulfur
  • Hydrogen