Cable bacterium from mangrove sediments, stained with fluorescent in situ hybridization (probe: DSB706). Image: Silvia Hidalgo.

Burdorf LDW, Hidalgo-Martinez S, Cook PLM, Meysman FJR


Long-distance electron transport by cable bacteria in mangrove sediments


Cable bacteria are long, filamentous sulphur oxidizing bacteria that induce long-distance electron transport in sediments. They turn the seafloor into an electro-active environment, characterized by currents and electrical fields, and when present, they exert a strong impact on the geochemical cycling in the seafloor. However, cable bacteria have only been recently discovered, and so their geographical distribution and habitat distribution remains largely unknown. Here Burdorf and colleagues report field evidence that cable bacteria are present and active in mangrove sediments. We recorded high filament densities (77 m cm-2) and the signature of electrogenic sulphur oxidation in sediments of grey mangroves near Melbourne (Australia). Burdorf’s and colleagues’ findings suggest that cable bacteria could be a keystone microbial species in the geochemical cycling of mangroves.


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