Aquifex aeolicus is a microaerophilic, hydrogen-oxidizing, hyperthermophilic bacterium containing three [NiFe] hydrogenases. Two of these three enzymes (one membrane-bound and one soluble) have been purified and characterized. The Aquifex hydrogenases are thermostable and tolerant to oxygen. A cellular function for the three hydrogenases has been proposed. The two membrane-bound periplasmic hydrogenases may function in energy conservation, whereas the soluble cytoplasmic hydrogenase is probably involved in the CO 2 fixation pathway.