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Many archaea and bacteria obtain metabolic energy by catalyzing the oxidation or reduction of sulfur. In marine hydrothermal systems, chemolithoautotrophs that oxidize hydrogen sulfide (H2S) or elemental sulfur (S0) account for much of the primary biomass synthesis. Under reducing conditions in these systems, both S0 and sulfate can serve as terminal electron acceptors. The energetics of chemolithoautotrophy in marine hydrothermal systems are discussed, focusing principally on sulfur-redox, but also touching on methanogenesis and organic synthesis. Examples are given from deep- and shallow-sea hydrothermal environments, the early Earth, Mars, and Europa. In addition, we present a...

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