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During the last few years sulfur bacteria, to an increasing extent, have been put to use in the biological estimation of pollution. In their investigations algologist have described new genera and new species of sulfur bacteria, and biochemists have established new designations for inclusions in sulfur bacteria. In this paper biochemical, ecological, and physiological investigations have been considered only to the extent of their being of value to the knowledge of sulfur bacteria.
In modern taxonomy the genera of sulfur bacteria are divided into different groups: Phototrophic Bacteria including green and red sulfur bacteria, Gliding Bacteria containing the colorless sulfur bacteria of the genera Beggiotoa, Thioploca, Thiothrix, Achromatium, and Peloploca, Budding Bacteria containing the genus Thiodendron, and Chemolithrotrophic Bacteria containing the genera Sulfolobus, Thiobacterium, Macromonas, Thiovulum, and Thiospira. The author considers that in this paper it would be most appropriate to retain the designation Chlorobacteria for green sulfur bacteria, Rhodothiobacteria for red sulfur bacteria, and Leucothiobacteria for colorless sulfur bacteria; this is in accordance with Lauterborn, Bavendamm, and many other authors. This is preferable for the practical use of sulfur bacteria as a means of estimating the degree of pollution. Furthermore, these designations are in common use in Europe.
Retired head of the Water Laboratory, Universitetets Hygiejniske Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark