Use of iron powder to obtain high yields of Leptothrix sheaths in culture

Tomoko Suzuki, Tatsuki Kunoh, Daisuke Nakatsuka, Hideki Hashimoto, Katsunori Tamura, Hitoshi Kunoh, Jun Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The Leptothrix species, Fe-oxidizing bacteria, produce an extracellular, microtubular sheath with a complicated organic–inorganic hybrid nature. We have discovered diverse industrial functions for this material, e.g., electrode material for Li-ion batteries, catalyst enhancers, pigments, plant growth promoters, and plant protectants. To consistently obtain material with the qualitative and quantitative stability needed for industrial applications, we focused on developing an optimum culture system for sheath synthesis by the Leptothrix sp. strain OUMS1. Although we have used Fe plates as an Fe source in the liquid silicon-glucose-peptone medium (SGP), the plates do not yield a consistent quality or precise mass, and formation of Fe-encrusted sheath is restricted to a surface of the plates, which limits harvest yield. In this study, to obtain a high yield of sheaths, we cultured OUMS1 in SGP supplemented with Fe powders. The addition of Fe powders to the medium (up to 14.0 g/L) did not adversely influence growth of OUMS1. The final yield of sheaths was about 10-fold greater than in the Fe plate culture. The sheaths also maintained a microtubular form and crystalline texture similar to those produced on Fe plates in SGP. The results proved the usefulness of Fe powder for consistently high yields of Fe-encrusted sheaths of stable quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-345
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 4 2015


  • Artificial medium with Fe powder
  • High yield of Fe-encrusted sheaths
  • Leptothrix sp.
  • Sheaths for industrial use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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