Bismuth(III) deferiprone effectively inhibits growth of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sulfate-reducing bacteria have been implicated in inflammatory bowel diseases and ulcerative colitis in humans and there is an interest in inhibiting the growth of these sulfide-producing bacteria. This research explores the use of several chelators of bismuth to determine the most effective chelator to inhibit the growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria. For our studies, Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 was grown with nitrate as the electron acceptor and chelated bismuth compounds were added to test for inhibition of growth. Varying levels of inhibition were attributed to bismuth chelated with subsalicylate or citrate but the most effective inhibition of growth by D. desulfuricans was with bismuth chelated by deferiprone, 3-hydroxy-1,2-dimethyl-4(1H)-pyridone. Growth of D. desulfuricans was inhibited by 10 μM bismuth as deferiprone:bismuth with either nitrate or sulfate respiration. Our studies indicate deferiprone:bismuth has bacteriostatic activity on D. desulfuricans because the inhibition can be reversed following exposure to 1 mM bismuth for 1 h at 32 °C. We suggest that deferiprone is an appropriate chelator for bismuth to control growth of sulfate-reducing bacteria because deferiprone is relatively nontoxic to animals, including humans, and has been used for many years to bind Fe(III) in the treatment of β-thalassemia.

publication date

  • February 2016