Purple non-sulfur phototrophic bacteria, exemplified by Rhodobacter capsulatus and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, exhibit a remarkable versatility in their anaerobic metabolism. In these bacteria the photosynthetic apparatus, enzymes involved in CO2 fixation and pathways of anaerobic respiration are all induced upon a reduction in oxygen tension. Recently, there have been significant advances in the understanding of molecular properties of the photosynthetic apparatus and the control of the expression of genes involved in photosynthesis and CO2 fixation. In addition, anaerobic respiratory pathways have been characterised and their interaction with photosynthetic electron transport has been described. This review will survey these advances and will discuss the ways in which photosynthetic electron transport and oxidation-reduction processes are integrated during photoautotrophic and photoheterotrophic growth.