Metabolism of dimethylsulfoniopropionate and glycine betaine by a marine bacterium

Mara R. Diaz, Pieter T. Visscher, Barrie F. Taylor

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45 Scopus citations


The metabolism of the methylated osmolytes glycine betaine (GB) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) was studied in a bacterium (strain MD 14-50) isolated from a colony of the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium. MD 14-50 when grown on DMSP cleaved dimethylsulfide (DMS) from DMSP and oxidized acrylate. In contrast to DMSP, GB was metabolized by sequential N-demethylations. Low concentrations (100 μM) of DMSP or GB allowed the growth of MD 14-50 on glucose at higher salinities than in their absence. At elevated salinities, DMSP was accumulated intracellularly with less catabolism and DMS production. Thus, DMSP and GB were catabolized by different mechanisms but functioned interchangeably as osmolytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Catabolism
  • Dimethylsulfoniopropionate
  • Glycine betaine
  • Marine bacterium
  • Osmolyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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