Anaerobic Chemotrophs

For approximately the first 1.5 billion years that prokaryotes inhabited earth, the atmosphere was anoxic, or devoid of O2. In the anaerobic environment, some early chemotrophs probably used a pathway of anaerobic respiration, employing electron acceptors such as carbon dioxide or elemental sulfur, which were plentiful in the environment. Others may have used fermentation, passing the electrons to an organic molecule such as pyruvate.

Table ll.l Prokaryotes Notable for Their Environmental Significance



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