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Summary

A strain of Desulfovibrio fructosovorans deleted from the hydN [NiFe]hydrogenase structural gene was constructed. A plasmid carrying a 7 kb DNA fragment on which the hydN gene had been replaced by the npt reporter gene (kanamycin-resistant, KnR) was introduced into D. fructosovorans by electroporation. Southern analysis of one KnR clone demonstrated that the hydN gene had been eliminated by marker exchange. This mutant, which was devoid of the [NiFe]hydrogenase gene, still showed a 10% residual hydrogenase activity. Its ability to grow efficiently with H2 as sole energy source is discussed. This is the first report, in a member of the sulphate-reducing bacteria, of a successful transformation and concomitant homologous recombination leading to a fully controlled genotype.