Identification of a novel acetate-utilizing bacterium belonging to Synergistes group 4 in anaerobic digester sludge.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Gunma University, Kiryu, Japan.
The ISME Journal (Impact Factor: 9.27). 05/2011; 5(12):1844-56. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2011.59
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Major acetate-utilizing bacterial and archaeal populations in methanogenic anaerobic digester sludge were identified and quantified by radioisotope- and stable-isotope-based functional analyses, microautoradiography-fluorescence in situ hybridization (MAR-FISH) and stable-isotope probing of 16S rRNA (RNA-SIP) that can directly link 16S rRNA phylogeny with in situ metabolic function. First, MAR-FISH with (14)C-acetate indicated the significant utilization of acetate by only two major groups, unidentified bacterial cells and Methanosaeta-like filamentous archaeal cells, in the digester sludge. To identify the acetate-utilizing unidentified bacteria, RNA-SIP was conducted with (13)C(6)-glucose and (13)C(3)-propionate as sole carbon source, which were followed by phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA. We found that bacteria belonging to Synergistes group 4 were commonly detected in both 16S rRNA clone libraries derived from the sludge incubated with (13)C-glucose and (13)C-propionate. To confirm that this bacterial group can utilize acetate, specific FISH probe targeting for Synergistes group 4 was newly designed and applied to the sludge incubated with (14)C-acetate for MAR-FISH. The MAR-FISH result showed that bacteria belonging to Synergistes group 4 significantly took up acetate and their active population size was comparable to that of Methanosaeta in this sludge. In addition, as bacteria belonging to Synergistes group 4 had high K(m) for acetate and maximum utilization rate, they are more competitive for acetate over Methanosaeta at high acetate concentrations (2.5-10  mM). To our knowledge, it is the first time to report the acetate-utilizing activity of uncultured bacteria belonging to Synergistes group 4 and its competitive significance to acetoclastic methanogen, Methanosaeta.

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