Phototrophic Purple Bacteria


Phototrophic purple bacteria are Proteobacteria which synthesize a photosynthetic apparatus, located in internal membrane systems and the cytoplasmic membrane. They thrive in all kinds of aquatic habitats and sediments that receive sufficient light and provide oxygen deficient and anoxic conditions. They occur widely distributed in nature. Metabolically specialized species live in specific ecological niches, metabolically versatile species have adapted to a wide range of habitats. Phototrophic purple sulfur bacteria, the Chromatiaceae and the Ectothiorhodospiraceae families, are Gammaproteobacteria. Genera of the purple nonsulfur bacteria are Alpha‐ and Betaproteobacteria phylogenetically closely related to purely chemotrophic bacteria.

Keywords: phototrophic bacteria; Chromatiaceae; Ectothiorhodospiraceae; purple nonsulfur bacteria

Figure 1.

Electron micrograph of Blastochloris viridis showing lamellar internal membrane structures arranged in parallel to the cytoplasmic membrane. Photo by J.F. Imhoff.

Figure 2.

Mass development of phototrophic purple sulfur bacteria at the German Waddensea sediment showing a thin pinkish layer in between a cover of a cyanobacterial mat and an actively sulfate‐reducing black sedimental zone. Photo by J.F. Imhoff.

Figure 3.

Blooming purple sulfur bacteria in a coastal lagoon where development occurs together with green microalgae and cyanobacteria. Photo by J.F. Imhoff.

Figure 4.

Mass development of Halorhodospira halophila in a shallow alkaline soda lake of the Wadi Natrun in Egypt. Photo by J.F. Imhoff.



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Further Reading

Blankenship RE, Madigan MT and Bauer CE (eds) (1995) Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Bacteria. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publ.

Clayton RK and Sistrom WR (eds) (1978) The Photosynthetic Bacteria. New York: Plenum Press.

Imhoff JF (1986) Osmoregulation and compatible solutes in Eubacteria. FEMS Microbiological Reviews 39: 57–66.

Imhoff JF (1988) Anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. In: Austin B (ed.) Methods in Aquatic Bacteriology, chapter 9, pp. 207–240. Chichester: Wiley.

Imhoff JF and Bias‐Imhoff U (1995) Lipids, quinones and fatty acids of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. In: Blankenship RE, Madigan MT and Bauer CE (eds) Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Bacteria, pp. 179–205. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Pub.

van Niel CB (1944) The culture, general physiology, morphology and classification of the non‐sulfur purple and brown bacteria. Bacteriological Reviews 8: 1–118.

Pfennig N (1967) Photosynthetic bacteria. Annual Reviews of Microbiology 21: 285–324.

Saunders VA (1978) Genetics of Rhodospirillaceae. Microbiological Reviews 42: 357–384.

Schmidt K (1978) Biosynthesis of carotenoids. In: Clayton RK and Sistrom WR (eds) The Photosynthetic Bacteria, pp. 729–750. New York: Plenum Press.

Trüper HG and Pfennig N (1981) Characterization and identification of the anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. In: Starr MP, Stolp H, Trüper HG, Balows A and Schlegel HG (eds) The Prokaryotes, pp. 299–312. New York: Springer.

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How to Cite close
Imhoff, Johannes F(Mar 2009) Phototrophic Purple Bacteria. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021156]