Anaerobic Environment

Definition - What does Anaerobic Environment mean?

An anaerobic environment is characterized by the lack of free oxygen (O2), in contrast with an aerobic environment that is rich in oxygen. Although oxygen-free, this type of environment may possess atomic oxygen bound in nitrite, sulfites and nitrates.

When these compounds are present, there can be harmful byproducts like hydrogen sulfide, which is a corrosive gas with a foul smell.

Corrosionpedia explains Anaerobic Environment

Aerobes are microbes that necessitate oxygen as the terminal acceptor of electrons. However, anaerobes utilize oxygen in its bound form. Anaerobic decomposition produces byproducts, and the non-oxygen constituents must go someplace when the atoms of oxygen are removed biologically by microbes. For instance, the presence of compounds such as sulfite results in the corrosive byproduct hydrogen sulfide.

Furthermore, there are various bacteria that can be found in an anaerobic environment. These can be anoxic microbes that do not need oxygen to survive. They can live and thrive in oxygen-free or anoxic environments.

Anaerobes or anoxic microbes can be classified as obligates, that utilize anaerobic metabolism to mature. There are also aero-tolerant anaerobes that can live in both oxygen-free and oxygenated environments. Lastly, there are also facultative anaerobes that prefer utilizing metabolic processes that are aerobic in nature, but are capable of using anaerobic metabolism if oxygen is not present.

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