Chemolithoheterotrophy: Means to Higher Growth Yields from This Widespread Metabolic Trait

  • Rich BodenEmail author
  • Lee P. Hutt
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


Chemolithoheterotrophy is a mixed metabolic mode in which heterotrophic growth is augmented by energy conserved from the oxidation of an inorganic electron donor such as thiosulfate or sulfide (or from sulfide moieties in methylated sulfur species). This results in an increased specific molar growth yield and a more efficient uptake of carbon from the carbon source, which can lead to more efficient biomass or product formation or more efficient degradation of pollutants etc. In this chapter we discuss the potential for harnessing this metabolic trait in biotechnology with critical evaluation of studies thus far.



We thank Professor Donovan P. Kelly, Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick, UK, for many stimulating discussions on the subject of chemolithoheterotrophy over the years and his continual encouragement in this area.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Marine Sciences, Sustainable Earth Institute, Faculty of Science and EngineeringUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.School of Biological and Marine Sciences, Faculty of Science and EngineeringUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK

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