Microbial Biotechnology

Publisher: Society for Applied Microbiology, Blackwell Publishing


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Publications in this journal

  • Xuefei Wang, Dmitri V. Mavrodi, Linfeng Ke, Olga V. Mavrodi, Mingming Yang, Linda S. Thomashow, Na Zheng, David M. Weller, Jibin Zhang
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to inventory the types of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) present in the rhizosphere of plants grown in soils contaminated with heavy metals, recalcitrant organics, petroleum sewage or salinity in China. We screened 1223 isolates for antifungal activity and about 24% inhibited Rhizoctonia solani or Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Twenty-four strains inhibitory to R. solani, Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici and/or S. sclerotiorum and representing the dominant morphotypes were assayed for PGPR activity. Seven strains contained phlD, prnD, pltC or phzF genes and produced the antibiotics 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol, pyrrolnitrin, pyoluteorin and phenazines respectively. Six strains contained acdS, which encodes 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA and phlD, phzF and acdS genes demonstrated that some strains identified as Pseudomonas were similar to model PGPR strains Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5, Pseudomonas chlororaphis subsp. aureofaciens 30–84 and P. brassicacearum Q8r1-96. Pseudomonas protegens- and P. chlororaphis-like strains had the greatest biocontrol activity against Rhizoctonia root rot and take-all of wheat. Pseudomonas protegens and P. brassicacearum-like strains showed the greatest promotion of canola growth. Our results indicate that strains from contaminated soils are similar to well-described PGPR found in agricultural soils worldwide.
    Microbial Biotechnology 10/2014;
  • Qiuhua Dong, Jing Wang, Hang Yang, Cuihua Wei, Junping Yu, Yun Zhang, Yanling Huang, Xian‐En Zhang, Hongping Wei
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    ABSTRACT: Developing chimeric lysins with a wide lytic spectrum would be important for treating some infections caused by multiple pathogenic bacteria. In the present work, a novel chimeric lysin (Ply187N-V12C) was constructed by fusing the catalytic domain (Ply187N) of the bacteriophage lysin Ply187 with the cell binding domain (146-314aa, V12C) of the lysin PlyV12. The results showed that the chimeric lysin Ply187N-V12C had not only lytic activity similar to Ply187N against staphylococcal strains but also extended its lytic activity to streptococci and enterococci, such as Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis, which Ply187N could not lyse. Our work demonstrated that generating novel chimeric lysins with an extended lytic spectrum was feasible through fusing a catalytic domain with a cell-binding domain from lysins with lytic spectra across multiple genera.
    Microbial Biotechnology 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial growth is often difficult to estimate beyond classical cultivation approaches. Low cell numbers, particles or coloured and dense media may disturb reliable growth assessment. Further difficulties appear when cells are attached to surfaces and detachment is incomplete.Therefore, flow cytometry was tested and used for analysis of bacterial growth on the single-cell level. Shewanella putrefaciens was cultivated as a model organism in planktonic or biofilm culture. Materials of smooth and rough surfaces were used for biofilm cultivation. Both aerobic and anaerobic as well as feast and famine conditions were applied. Visualization of growth was also done using Environmental Scanning and Phase Contrast Microscopy. Bioinformatic tools were applied for data interpretation.Cytometric proliferation patterns based on distributions of DNA contents per cell corresponded distinctly to the various lifestyles, electron acceptors and substrates tested. Therefore, cell cycling profiles of S. putrefaciens were found to mirror growth conditions.The cytometric patterns were consistently detectable with exception of some biofilm types whose resolution remained challenging. Corresponding heat maps proved to be useful for clear visualization of growth behaviour under all tested conditions. Therefore, flow cytometry in combination with bioinformatic tools proved to be powerful means to determine various growth states of S. putrefaciens, even in constrained environments. The approach is universal and will also be applicable for other bacterial species.
    Microbial Biotechnology 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The highly diverse microbiomes of vegetables are reservoirs for opportunistic and emerging pathogens. In recent years, an increased consumption, larger scale production and more efficient distribution of vegetables together with an increased number of immunocompromised individuals resulted in an enhanced number of documented outbreaks of human infections associated with the consumption of vegetables. Here we discuss the occurrence of potential pathogens in vegetable microbiomes, the impact of farming and processing practices, and plant and human health issues. Based on these results, we discuss the question if vegetables can serve as a source of infection for immunocompromised individuals as well as possible solutions to avoid outbreaks. Moreover, the potentially positive aspects of the vegetables microbiome for the gut microbiota and human health are presented.
    Microbial Biotechnology 10/2014;
  • Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014; 7(5).
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    ABSTRACT: Biotinylation is widely used in DNA, RNA and protein probing assays as this molecule has generally no impact on the biological activity of its substrate. During the streptavidin-based detection of glycoproteins in Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with biotinylated lectin probes, a strong positive band of approximately 125 kDa was observed, present in different cellular fractions. This potential glycoprotein reacted heavily with concanavalin A (ConA), a lectin that specifically binds glucose and mannose residues. Surprisingly, this protein of 125 kDa could not be purified using a ConA affinity column. Edman degradation of the protein, isolated via cation and anion exchange chromatography, lead to the identification of the band as pyruvate carboxylase, an enzyme of 125 kDa that binds biotin as a cofactor. Detection using only the streptavidin conjugate resulted in more false positive signals of proteins, also in extracellular fractions, indicating biotin-associated proteins. Indeed, biotin is a known cofactor of numerous carboxylases. The potential occurence of false positive bands with biotinylated protein probes should thus be considered when using streptavidin-based detection, e.g. by developing a blot using only the streptavidin conjugate. To circumvent these false positives, alternative approaches like detection based on digoxigenin labelling can also be used.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we report the metabolic engineering of the respiratory yeast Kluyveromyces lactis by construction and characterization of a null mutant (Δklndi1) in the single gene encoding a mitochondrial alternative internal dehydrogenase. Isolated mitochondria of the Δklndi1 mutant show unaffected rate of oxidation of exogenous NADH, but no oxidation of matrix NADH; this confirms that KlNdi1p is the only internal NADH dehydrogenase in K. lactis mitochondria. Permeabilized cells of the Δklndi1 mutant do not show oxidation of matrix NADH, which suggests that shuttle systems to transfer the NADH from mitochondrial matrix to cytosol, for being oxidized by external dehydrogenases, are not functional. The Δklndi1 mutation decreases the chronological life span in absence of nutrients. The expression of KlNDI1 is increased by glutathione reductase depletion. The Δklndi1 mutation shifts the K. lactis metabolism from respiratory to fermentative: the Δklndi1 strain shows reduced respiration rate and increased ethanol production from glucose, while it does not grow in non-fermentable carbon sources such as lactate. The biotechnological benefit of the Δklndi1 mutant for bioethanol production from waste cheese whey lactose was proved.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Growth-promoting Sphingomonas paucimobilis ZJSH1, associated with Dendrobium officinale, a traditional Chinese medicinal plant, was characterized. At 90 days post-inoculation, strain ZJSH1 significantly promoted the growth of D. officinale seedlings, with increases of stems by 8.6% and fresh weight by 7.5%. Interestingly, the polysaccharide content extracted from the inoculated seedlings was 0.6% higher than that of the control. Similar growth promotion was observed with the transplants inoculated with strain ZJSH1. The mechanism of growth promotion was attributed to a combination of phytohormones and nitrogen fixation. Strain ZJSH1 was found using the Kjeldahl method to have a nitrogen fixation activity of 1.15 mg l−1, which was confirmed by sequencing of the nifH gene. Using high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, strain ZJSH1 was found to produce various phytohormones, including salicylic acid (SA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), Zeatin and abscisic acid (ABA). The growth curve showed that strain ZJSH1 grew well in the seedlings, especially in the roots. Accordingly, much higher contents of SA, ABA, IAA and c-ZR were detected in the inoculated seedlings, which may play roles as both phytohormones and ‘Systemic Acquired Resistance’ drivers. Nitrogen fixation and secretion of plant growth regulators (SA, IAA, Zeatin and ABA) endow S. paucimobilis ZJSH1 with growth-promoting properties, which provides a potential for application in the commercial growth of D. officinale.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Burkholderia fungorum FLU100 simultaneously oxidized any mixture of toluene, benzene and mono-halogen benzenes to (3-substituted) catechols with a selectivity of nearly 100%. Further metabolism occurred via enzymes of ortho cleavage pathways with complete mineralization. During the transformation of 3-methylcatechol, 4-carboxymethyl-2-methylbut-2-en-4-olide (2-methyl-2-enelactone, 2-ML) accumulated transiently, being further mineralized only after a lag phase of 2 h in case of cells pre-grown on benzene or mono-halogen benzenes. No lag phase, however, occurred after growth on toluene. Cultures inhibited by chloramphenicol after growth on benzene or mono-halogen benzenes were unable to metabolize 2-ML supplied externally, even after prolonged incubation. A control culture grown with toluene did not show any lag phase and used 2-ML as a substrate. This means that 2-ML is an intermediate of toluene degradation and converted by specific enzymes. The conversion of 4-methylcatechol as a very minor by-product of toluene degradation in strain FLU100 resulted in the accumulation of 4-carboxymethyl-4-methylbut-2-en-4-olide (4-methyl-2-enelactone, 4-ML) as a dead-end product, excluding its nature as a possible intermediate. Thus, 3-methylcyclohexa-3,5-diene-1,2-diol, 3-methylcatechol, 2-methyl muconate and 2-ML were identified as central intermediates of productive ortho cleavage pathways for toluene metabolism in B. fungorum FLU100.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing demand for enzymes with improved catalytic performance or tolerance to process-specific parameters, and biotechnology plays a crucial role in the development of biocatalysts for use in industry, agriculture, medicine and energy generation. Metagenomics takes advantage of the wealth of genetic and biochemical diversity present in the genomes of microorganisms found in environmental samples, and provides a set of new technologies directed towards screening for new catalytic activities from environmental samples with potential biotechnology applications. However, biased and low level of expression of heterologous proteins in Escherichia coli together with the use of non-optimal cloning vectors for the construction of metagenomic libraries generally results in an extremely low success rate for enzyme identification. The bottleneck arising from inefficient screening of enzymatic activities has been addressed from several perspectives; however, the limitations related to biased expression in heterologous hosts cannot be overcome by using a single approach, but rather requires the synergetic implementation of multiple methodologies. Here, we review some of the principal constraints regarding the discovery of new enzymes in metagenomic libraries and discuss how these might be resolved by using synthetic biology methods.
    Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014;
  • Microbial Biotechnology 09/2014; 7(5).
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    ABSTRACT: The genotyping of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) plays an important role in the treatment of HCV because genotype determination has recently been incorporated into the treatment guidelines for HCV infections. Most current genotyping methods are unable to detect mixed genotypes from two or more HCV infections. We therefore developed a multiplex genotyping assay to determine HCV genotypes using a bead array. Synthetic plasmids, genotype panels and standards were used to verify the target-specific primer (TSP) design in the assay, and the results indicated that discrimination efforts using 10 TSPs in a single reaction were extremely successful. Thirty-five specimens were then tested to evaluate the assay performance, and the results were highly consistent with those of direct sequencing, supporting the reliability of the assay. Moreover, the results from samples with mixed HCV genotypes revealed that the method is capable of detecting two different genotypes within a sample. Furthermore, the specificity evaluation results suggested that the assay could correctly identify HCV in HCV/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infected patients. This genotyping platform enables the simultaneous detection and identification of more than one genotype in a same sample and is able to test 96 samples simultaneously. It could therefore provide a rapid, efficient and reliable method of determining HCV genotypes in the future.
    Microbial Biotechnology 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Ochrobactrum anthropi Mn1 strain, taxonomically identified using 16S ribosomal DNA sequence, was isolated from roots of Jerusalem artichoke. Its endophytic colonization was investigated microscopically using green fluorescent protein introduced by vector pHC60. The strain entered Jerusalem artichoke tissues through the root, and was localized in the roots and stems. The plant growth-promoting (PGP) effects of O. anthropi Mn1 were assessed in greenhouse as well as field trials with different nitrogen supplies. Only under moderate to ample nitrogen supply, could O. anthropi Mn1 promoted growth of host plant. The PGP effects of the strain were symbiotic nitrogen fixation, root morphological optimization and enhanced nutrient uptake. We hypothesize that the symbiotic interspecies interaction might be quorum sensing related.
    Microbial Biotechnology 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of the Hungate1000 project is to generate a reference set of rumen microbial genome sequences. Toward this goal we have carried out a meta-analysis using information from culture collections, scientific literature, and the NCBI and RDP databases and linked this with a comparative study of several rumen 16S rRNA gene-based surveys. In this way we have attempted to capture a snapshot of rumen bacterial diversity to examine the culturable fraction of the rumen bacterial microbiome. Our analyses have revealed that for cultured rumen bacteria, there are many genera without a reference genome sequence. Our examination of culture-independent studies highlights that there are few novel but many uncultured taxa within the rumen bacterial microbiome. Taken together these results have allowed us to compile a list of cultured rumen isolates that are representative of abundant, novel and core bacterial species in the rumen. In addition, we have identified taxa, particularly within the phylum Bacteroidetes, where further cultivation efforts are clearly required. This information is being used to guide the isolation efforts and selection of bacteria from the rumen microbiota for sequencing through the Hungate1000.
    Microbial Biotechnology 07/2014;

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