Enumeration of chemoorganotrophic carbonyl sulfide (COS)-degrading microorganisms by the most probable number method

Hiromi Kato, Takahiro Ogawa, Hiroyuki Ohta, Yoko Katayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is the most abundant sulfur compound in the atmosphere, and, thus, is important in the global sulfur cycle. Soil is a major sink of atmospheric COS and the numerical distribution of soil microorganisms that degrade COS is indispensable for estimating the COS-degrading potential of soil. However, difficulties are associated with counting COS-degrading microorganisms using culture-dependent approaches, such as the most probable number (MPN) method, because of the chemical hydrolysis of COS by water. We herein developed a two-step MPN method for COS-degrading microorganisms: the first step for chemoorganotrophic growth that supported a sufficient number of cells for COS degradation in the second step. Our new MPN analysis of various environmental samples revealed that the cell density of COS-degrading microorganisms in forest soils ranged between 106 and 108 MPN (g dry soil)–1, which was markedly higher than those in volcanic deposit and water samples, and strongly correlated with the rate of COS degradation in environmental samples. Numerically dominant COS degraders that were isolated from the MPN-positive culture were related to bacteria in the orders Bacillales and Actinomycetales. The present results provide numerical evidence for the ubiquity of COS-degrading microbes in natural environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberME19139
JournalMicrobes and environments
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Carbonic anhydrase
  • Carbonyl sulfide
  • Most probable number method
  • Soil microbes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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