Obligate aerobe


noun, plural: obligate aerobes

An aerobe that requires oxygen for aerobic respiration.


Obligate aerobes need oxygen to oxidize substrates (for example sugars and fats) in order to obtain energy. They use oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor during aerobic respiration. They have the advantage of yielding more energy than the obligate anaerobes. However, they also have to face high levels of oxidative stress.

Almost all animals, most fungi, and several bacteria are obligate aerobes. Examples of obligate aerobic bacteria are: Nocardia (Gram-positive), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram-negative), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (acid-fast), and Bacillus (Gram-positive).

Word origin: obligate » Latin obligātus (ptp. of obligāre), to bind + aerobe » French aérobie : Greek āēr, air + Greek bios, life.

Compare: obligate anaerobe.

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