Genus nameRhodobacter
Alternative names
NCBI taxonomy ID1060



16S gene copy number1-6

 In situOther
Hydrophobic cell surface

Phase-contrast photomicrograph of vegetative cells. Bar, 2.5 microns. - Source:9

Aerobic heterotroph
Nitrite reduction
Sulphate reduction
Proteins/Amino acids

POSNEGVariableNot assessed


Isolates of the genus have ovoid to short rod shaped cells, which tend to form chains in some species 10 11 12 13 14. SIP experiments suggest a possible role in denitrification 15, although their in situ physiology in activated sludge has not been determined. In pure culture their preferred metabolism is photoorganoheterotrophy 10. The genus is metabolically versatile as photoorganoheterotrophic, photolithoautotrophic, chemoheterotrophic and chemolithoautotrophic growth are all possible, however most Rhodobacter species are unable to grow autotrophically 10. Aerobic respiration is also possible, where pyruvate, succinate, lacatate and other organic acids and sugars are usually used 10.

Show full entry

FISH probes

G_Rb 1


 In situOther
Aerobic Heterotroph10
Nitrite Reduction9
Sulphate Reduction17
Fatty Acids1214
Proteins/Amino Acids111318192022

Abundance Information

 10 % percentileMedian90 % percentile
Activated Sludge11.93.8

Predominant InActivated sludge


[1] Nielsen PH, Daims H, and Lemmer, H (2009) FISH Handbook for Biological Wastewater Treatment: Identification and quantification of microorganisms in activated sludge and biofilms by FISH. IWA Publishing Company - Nielsen Et Al 2009 -

[2] - NCBI genome database, NCBI id 1060 -

[3] Ding, Moksa, Hirst, Beatty - Draft Genome Sequences of Six Rhodobacter capsulatus Strains, YW1, YW2, B6, Y262, R121, and DE442. - Genome Announc 2(1): . doi:10.1128/genomeA.00050-14

[4] Strnad, Lapidus, Paces, Ulbrich, Vlcek, Paces, et al. - Complete genome sequence of the photosynthetic purple nonsulfur bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus SB 1003. - J. Bacteriol. 192(13): 3545-6. doi:10.1128/JB.00366-10

[5] Ribeiro, Przybylski, Yin, Sharpe, Gnerre, Abouelleil, et al. - Finished bacterial genomes from shotgun sequence data. - Genome Res. 22(11): 2270-7. doi:10.1101/gr.141515.112

[6] Kontur, Schackwitz, Ivanova, Martin, Labutti, Deshpande, et al. - Revised sequence and annotation of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1 genome. - J. Bacteriol. 194(24): 7016-7. doi:10.1128/JB.01214-12

[7] Porter, Wilkinson, Byles, Wadhams, Taylor, Saunders, et al. - Genome sequence of Rhodobacter sphaeroides Strain WS8N. - J. Bacteriol. 193(15): 4027-8. doi:10.1128/JB.05257-11

[8] Lima, Siqueira, Dos Santos, da Silva, Inada, Lima, et al. - Draft Genome Sequence of Rhodobacter sp. Strain CACIA 14H1, a Heterotrophic Bacterium Obtained from a Nonaxenic Culture of a Cyanobium Species. - Genome Announc 2(1): . doi:10.1128/genomeA.01116-13

[9] Girija, Sasikala, Ramana, Spröer, Takaichi, Thiel, et al. - Rhodobacter johrii sp. nov., an endospore-producing cryptic species isolated from semi-arid tropical soils. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 60(Pt 9): 2099-107. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.011718-0

[10] Pujalte, M.J., Lucena, T., Ruvira, M.A., Arahal, D.R., Macian, M.C. (2014) In Rosenberg, E., DeLong, E.F., Lory, S., Stackedbrandt, E., and Thompson, F. The Prokaryotes: Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria. The family Rhodobactericeae. Pp 447-451. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. - Pujalte Et Al 2014 -

[11] Hansen, T.A., and Imhoff, J.F. (1985) Rhodobacter veldkampii, a new species of phototrophic purple non- sulfur bacteria. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 35(1): 115-116. - Hansen And Imhoff 1985 -

[12] Venkata Ramana, Anil Kumar, Srinivas, Sasikala, Ramana - Rhodobacter aestuarii sp. nov., a phototrophic alphaproteobacterium isolated from an estuarine environment. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 59(Pt 5): 1133-6. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.004507-0

[13] Anil Kumar, Srinivas, Sasikala, Ramana - Rhodobacter changlensis sp. nov., a psychrotolerant, phototrophic alphaproteobacterium from the Himalayas of India. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 57(Pt 11): 2568-71. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65110-0

[14] Venkata Ramana, Sasikala, Ramana - Rhodobacter maris sp. nov., a phototrophic alphaproteobacterium isolated from a marine habitat of India. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 58(Pt 7): 1719-22. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65638-0

[15] Osaka, Yoshie, Tsuneda, Hirata, Iwami, Inamori, et al. - Identification of acetate- or methanol-assimilating bacteria under nitrate-reducing conditions by stable-isotope probing. - Microb. Ecol. 52(2): 253-66. doi:10.1007/s00248-006-9071-7

[16] Wang, Liu, Zheng, Wang - Paenirhodobacter enshiensis gen. nov., sp. nov., a non-photosynthetic bacterium isolated from soil, and emended descriptions of the genera Rhodobacter and Haematobacter. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 64(Pt 2): 551-8. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.050351-0

[17] Imhoff, J.F., Truper, H.G., and Pfenning, N. (1984) Rearrangment of the species and genera of the phototrophic "purple non-sulfur bacteria". Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 34(3): 340-343. - Imhoff Et Al 1984 -

[18] Srinivas, Kumar, Sasikala, Ramana, Imhoff - Rhodobacter vinaykumarii sp. nov., a marine phototrophic alphaproteobacterium from tidal waters, and emended description of the genus Rhodobacter. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 57(Pt 9): 1984-7. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65077-0

[19] Srinivas, Anil Kumar, Sasikala, Spröer, Ramana - Rhodobacter ovatus sp. nov., a phototrophic alphaproteobacterium isolated from a polluted pond. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 58(Pt 6): 1379-83. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65619-0

[20] Raj, Ramaprasad, Vaseef, Sasikala, Ramana - Rhodobacter viridis sp. nov., a phototrophic bacterium isolated from mud of a stream. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 63(Pt 1): 181-6. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.038471-0

[21] Imhoff, J.F. (2006) The phototrophic alpha-proteobacteria. In: E. Rosenberg., E. Stackebrandt., F. Thompson., S. Lory., E. De Long (eds). The Prokaryotes, vol 5, 3rd ed. Proteobacteria- alpha and beta subclasses, pp41-64. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. - Imhoff 2006 -

[22] Hiraishi, A., Muramatsu, K., Ueda, Y. (1996) Molecular genetic analyses of Rhodobacter azotoformans sp. nov. and related species of phototrophic bacteria. System. Appl. Microbiol. 19(2): 168-177. - Hiraishi Et Al 1996 -

[23] Greub, Raoult - Rhodobacter massiliensis sp. nov., a new amoebae-resistant species isolated from the nose of a patient. - Res. Microbiol. 154(9): 631-5. doi:10.1016/j.resmic.2003.08.002

[24] Arunasri, Venkata Ramana, Spröer, Sasikala, Ramana - Rhodobacter megalophilus sp. nov., a phototroph from the Indian Himalayas possessing a wide temperature range for growth. - Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 58(Pt 8): 1792-6. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.65642-0

Hide details

comments powered by Disqus

The online MiDAS field guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


The MiDAS taxonomy is a manual curation of the Silva database and is redistributed for non-commercial use only.


Citing MiDAS: McIlroy S.J., Saunders A.M., Albertsen M., Nierychlo M., McIlroy B., Hansen A.A., Karst S.M., Nielsen J.L., Nielsen P.H. (2015) MiDAS: the field guide to the microbes of activated sludge. Database, Vol. 2015

Contact us at mail@midasfieldguide.org