Article

Untangling Microbiota Diversity and Assembly Patterns in the World's Largest Water Diversion Canal

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Abstract

Large water diversion projects are important constructions for reallocation of human-essential water resources. Deciphering microbiota dynamics and assembly mechanisms underlying canal water ecosystem services especially during long-distance diversion is the prerequisite for water quality monitoring, biohazard warning and sustainable management. Using a 1432-km canal of the South-to-North Water Diversion Projects as a model system, we answer three central questions: how bacterial and micro-eukaryotic communities spatio-temporally develop, how much ecological stochasticity contributes to microbiota assembly, and which immigrating populations better survive and navigate across the canal. We applied quantitative ribosomal RNA gene sequence analyses to investigate canal water microbial communities sampled over a year, as well as null model- and neutral model-based approaches to disentangle the microbiota assembly processes. Our results showed clear microbiota dynamics in community composition driven by seasonality more than geographic location, and seasonally dependent influence of environmental parameters. Overall, bacterial community was largely shaped by deterministic processes, whereas stochasticity dominated micro-eukaryotic community assembly. We defined a local growth factor (LGF) and demonstrated its innovative use to quantitatively infer microbial proliferation, unraveling taxonomically dependent population response to local environmental selection across canal sections. Using LGF as a quantitative indicator of immigrating capacities, we also found that most micro-eukaryotic populations (82%) from the source lake water sustained growth in the canal and better acclimated to the hydrodynamical water environment than bacteria (67%). Taxa inferred to largely propagate include Limnohabitans sp. and Cryptophyceae, potentially contributing to water auto-purification. Combined, our work poses first and unique insights into the microbiota assembly patterns and dynamics in the world's largest water diversion canal, providing important ecological knowledge for long-term sustainable water quality maintenance in such a giant engineered system.

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... Therefore, the protection of water quality and aquatic ecosystem health in the Danjiangkou Reservoir is extremely important, which is an important part of the ecological management of major rivers in China [2]. Previous studies on the Danjiangkou Reservoir mainly focused on the evaluation of water quality, the structural characteristics of phytoplankton and zooplankton communities [3][4][5][6][7][8], but rarely on organic carbon. ...
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Whether or not communities of microbial eukaryotes are structured in the same way as bacteria is a general and poorly explored question in ecology. Here, we investigated this question in a set of planktonic lake microbiotas in Eastern Antarctica that represent a natural community ecology experiment. Most of the analysed lakes emerged from the sea during the last 6,000 years, giving rise to waterbodies that originally contained marine microbiotas and that subsequently evolved into habitats ranging from freshwater to hypersaline. We show that habitat diversification has promoted selection driven by the salinity gradient in bacterial communities (explaining ~72% of taxa turnover), while microeukaryotic counterparts were predominantly structured by ecological drift (~72% of the turnover). Nevertheless, we also detected a number of microeukaryotes with specific responses to salinity, indicating that albeit minor, selection has had a role in the structuring of specific members of their communities. In sum, we conclude that microeukaryotes and bacteria inhabiting the same communities can be structured predominantly by different processes. This should be considered in future studies aiming to understand the mechanisms that shape microbial assemblages.
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Surface sediments are the inner source of contaminations in aquatic systems and usually maintain aerobic conditions. As the key participators of nitrification process, little is known about the activities and contributions of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB) in the surface sediments. In this study, we determined the net and potential nitrification rates and used 1-octyne as an AOB specific inhibitor to detect the contributions of AOA and AOB to nitrification in surface sediments of Danjiangkou reservoir, which is the water source area of the middle route of South-to-North Water Diversion Project in China. Quantitative PCR and Illumina high-throughput sequencing were used to evaluate the abundance and diversity of the amoA gene. The net and potential nitrification rates ranged from 0.42 to 1.93 and 2.06 to 8.79 mg N kg−1 dry sediments d−1, respectively. AOB dominated in both net and potential nitrification, whose contribution accounted for 52.7–78.6% and 59.9–88.1%, respectively. The cell-specific ammonia oxidation rate calculation also revealed the cell-specific rates of AOB were higher than that of AOA. The Spearman’s rank correlation analysis suggested that ammonia accumulation led to the AOB predominant role in net nitrification activity, and AOB abundance played the key role in potential nitrification activity. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis suggested AOB were predominantly characterized by the Nitrosospira cluster, while AOA by the Nitrososphaera and Nitrososphaera sister clusters. This study will help us to better understand the contributions and characteristics of AOA and AOB in aquatic sediments and provide improved strategies for nitrogen control in large reservoirs.
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Background Bacterial communities are essential to the biogeochemical cycle in riverine ecosystems. However, little is presently known about the integrated biogeography of planktonic and sedimentary bacterial communities in large rivers. ResultsThis study provides the first spatiotemporal pattern of bacterial communities in the Yangtze River, the largest river in Asia with a catchment area of 1,800,000 km2. We find that sedimentary bacteria made larger contributions than planktonic bacteria to the bacterial diversity of the Yangzte River ecosystem with the sediment subgroup providing 98.8% of 38,906 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) observed in 280 samples of synchronous flowing water and sediment at 50 national monitoring stations covering a 4300 km reach. OTUs within the same phylum displayed uniform seasonal variations, and many phyla demonstrated autumn preference throughout the length of the river. Seasonal differences in bacterial communities were statistically significant in water, whereas bacterial communities in both water and sediment were geographically clustered according to five types of landforms: mountain, foothill, basin, foothill-mountain, and plain. Interestingly, the presence of two huge dams resulted in a drastic fall of bacterial taxa in sediment immediately downstream due to severe riverbed scouring. The integrity of the biogeography is satisfactorily interpreted by the combination of neutral and species sorting perspectives in meta-community theory for bacterial communities in flowing water and sediment. Conclusions Our study fills a gap in understanding of bacterial communities in one of the world’s largest river and highlights the importance of both planktonic and sedimentary communities to the integrity of bacterial biogeographic patterns in a river subject to varying natural and anthropogenic impacts.
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Background Next-generation 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing is widely used to determine the relative composition of the mammalian gut microbiomes. However, in the absence of a reference, this does not reveal alterations in absolute abundance of specific operational taxonomic units if microbial loads vary across specimens. Results Here we suggest the spiking of exogenous bacteria into crude specimens to quantify ratios of absolute bacterial abundances. We use the 16S rDNA read counts of the spike-in bacteria to adjust the read counts of endogenous bacteria for changes in total microbial loads. Using a series of dilutions of pooled faecal samples from mice containing defined amounts of the spike-in bacteria Salinibacter ruber, Rhizobium radiobacter and Alicyclobacillus acidiphilus, we demonstrate that spike-in-based calibration to microbial loads allows accurate estimation of ratios of absolute endogenous bacteria abundances. Applied to stool specimens of patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation, we were able to determine changes in both relative and absolute abundances of various phyla, especially the genus Enterococcus, in response to antibiotic treatment and radio-chemotherapeutic conditioning. Conclusion Exogenous spike-in bacteria in gut microbiome studies enable estimation of ratios of absolute OTU abundances, providing novel insights into the structure and the dynamics of intestinal microbiomes. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40168-016-0175-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Despite their importance to host health and development, the communities of microorganisms associated with humans and other animals are characterized by a large degree of unexplained variation across individual hosts. The processes that drive such inter-individual variation are not well understood. To address this, we surveyed the microbial communities associated with the intestine of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, over developmental time. We compared our observations of community composition and distribution across hosts with that predicted by a neutral assembly model, which assumes that community assembly is driven solely by chance and dispersal. We found that as hosts develop from larvae to adults, the fit of the model to observed microbial distributions decreases, suggesting that the relative importance of non-neutral processes, such as microbe-microbe interactions, active dispersal, or selection by the host, increases as hosts mature. We also observed that taxa which depart in their distributions from the neutral prediction form ecologically distinct sub-groups, which are phylogenetically clustered with respect to the full metacommunity. These results demonstrate that neutral processes are sufficient to generate substantial variation in microbiota composition across individual hosts, and suggest that potentially unique or important taxa may be identified by their divergence from neutral distributions.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 21 August 2015; doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.142.
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Understanding environmental and biological influences on the dynamics of microbial communities has received great attention in microbial ecology. Here, utilizing large time-series 16S rRNA gene data, we show that in activated sludge of an environmentally important municipal wastewater treatment plant, 5-year temporal dynamics of bacterial community shows no significant seasonal succession, but is consistent with deterministic assemblage by taxonomic relatedness. Biological interactions are dominant drivers in determining the bacterial community assembly, whereas environmental conditions (mainly sludge retention time and inorganic nitrogen) partially explain phylogenetic and quantitative variances and indirectly influence bacterial assembly. We demonstrate a correlation-based statistical method to integrate bacterial association networks with their taxonomic affiliations to predict community-wide co-occurrence and co-exclusion patterns. The results show that although taxonomically closely related bacteria tend to positively co-occur (for example, out of a cooperative relationship), negative co-excluding correlations are deterministically observed between taxonomically less related species, probably implicating roles of competition in determining bacterial assembly. Overall, disclosures of the positive and negative species-species relations will improve our understanding of ecological niches occupied by unknown species and help to predict their biological functions in ecosystems.
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China National GeneBank DataBase (CNGBdb) is a data platform aiming to systematically archiving and sharing of multi-omics data in life science. As the service portal of Bio-informatics Data Center of the core structure, namely, "Three Banks and Two Platforms" of China National GeneBank (CNGB), CNGBdb has the advantages of rich sample resources, data resources, cooperation projects, powerful data computation and analysis capabilities. With the advent of high throughput sequencing technologies, research in life science has entered the big data era, which is in the need of closer international cooperation and data sharing. With the development of China's economy and the increase of investment in life science research, we need to establish a national public platform for data archiving and sharing in life science to promote the systematic management, application and industrial utilization. Currently, CNGBdb can provide genomic data archiving, information search engines, data management and data analysis services. The data schema of CNGBdb has covered projects, samples, experiments, runs, assemblies, variations and sequences. Until May 22, 2020, CNGBdb has archived 2176 research projects and more than 2221 TB sequencing data submitted by researchers globally. In the future, CNGBdb will continue to be dedicated to promoting data sharing in life science research and improving the service capability. CNGBdb website is: https://db.cngb.org/.
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Testate amoebae are widely distributed in natural ecosystems and play an important role in the material cycle and energy flow. However, community assembly of testate amoebae is not well understood, especially with regard to the relative importance of the stochastic and deterministic processes over time. In this study, we used Illumina high-throughput sequencing to explore the community assembly of testate amoebae from surface waters in two reservoirs of subtropical China over a seven-year period. Majority of testate amoebae belonged to the rare taxa because their relative abundances were typically lower than 0.01% of the total eukaryotic plankton community. The testate amoeba community dynamics exhibited a stronger interannual than seasonal variation in both reservoirs. Further, species richness, rather than species turnover, accounted for the majority of community variation. Environmental variables explained less than 20% of the variation in community composition of testate amoebae, and the community assembly appeared to be strongly driven by stochastic processes. Based on the Sloan neutral community model, it was found that neutral processes explained more than 65% of community variation. More importantly, the Stegen null model analysis showed that the stochastic processes (e.g., ecological drift) explained a significantly higher percentage of community assembly than deterministic processes over seven years, although deterministic processes were more influential in certain years. Our results provide new perspectives for understanding the ecological patterns, processes and mechanisms of testate amoeba communities in freshwater ecosystems at temporal scale, and have important implications for monitoring plankton diversity and protecting drinking-water resources.
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Geographic patterns of bacteria and microeukaryotes have attracted increasing attention. However, mechanisms underlying geographic patterns in the community composition of both microbial groups are still poorly resolved. In particular, knowledge of whether bacterial communities and microeukaryotic communities are subject to the same or different assembly mechanisms is still limited. In this study, we investigated the biogeographic patterns of bacterial and microeukaryotic communities of 23 lakes on the Tibetan Plateau and quantified the relative influence of assembly mechanisms in shaping both microbial communities. Results showed that water salinity was the major driving force in controlling the community structures of bacteria and microeukaryotes. Although bacterial and microeukaryotic communities exhibited similar distance-decay patterns, the bacterial communities were mainly governed by environmental filtering (niche-related process), whereas microeukaryotic communities were strongly driven by dispersal limitation (neutral-related process). Furthermore, we found that bacteria exhibited wider niche breadths and higher dispersal ability, but lower community stabilities than microeukaryotes. The similar distribution patterns but contrasting assembly mechanisms effecting bacteria and microeukaryotes resulted from the differences in dispersal ability and community stability. Our results highlight the importance of considering organism types in studies of the assembly mechanisms that shape microbial communities in microbial ecology.
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We examined the relationship between viruses and co-occurring bacterial communities across spatiotemporal scale in two contrasting freshwater lakes, namely meromictic Lake Pavin and dimictic Lake Aydat (Central France). Next-generation sequencing of 16S rRNA genes suggested distinct patterns in bacterioplankton community composition (BCC) between the lakes over depths and seasons. BCC were generally dominated by members of Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes covering about 95% of all sequences. Oxygen depletion at the bottom waters in Aydat and existence of permanent anoxia in the monimolimnion of Pavin resulted in the occurrence and dominance of lesser known members of lake communities such as Methylotenera, Methylobacter, Gallionella, Sulfurimonas, and Syntrophus in Pavin and Methylotenera and Sulfuritalea in Aydat. Differences in BCC appeared strongly related to dissolved oxygen concentration, temperature, viral infection, and virus-tobacteria ratio. UniFrac analysis indicated a clear distinction in BCC when the percentage of viral infected bacterial cells and virus-to-bacteria ratio exceeded a threshold level of 10%and 5, respectively, suggesting a link between viruses and their potential bacterial host communities. Our study revealed that in both the lakes, the prevailing environmental factors across time and space structured and influenced the adaptation of bacterial communities to specific ecological niches. Keywords Bacterial community composition and diversity . Illumina sequencing . Viral lysis . Physicochemical gradients . Temperate lakes . Microbial ecology
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Hydrodynamics drives both stochastic and deterministic community assembly in aquatic habitats, by translocating microbes across geographic barriers and generating changes in selective pressures. Thus, heterogeneity of hydrogeological settings and episodic surface inputs from recharge areas might play important roles in shaping and maintaining groundwater microbial communities. Here we took advantage of the Hainich Critical Zone Exploratory to disentangle mechanisms of groundwater microbiome differentiation via a three-year observation in a setting of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic alternations along a hillslope transect. Variation partitioning of all data elucidated significant roles of hydrochemistry (35.0%) and spatial distance (18.6%) but not of time in shaping groundwater microbiomes. Groundwater was dominated by rare species (99.6% of OTUs), accounting for 25.9% of total reads, whereas only 26 OTUs were identified as core species. The proximity to the recharge area gave prominence to high microbial diversity coinciding with high surface inputs. In downstream direction, the abundance of rare OTUs decreased whereas core OTUs abundance increased up to 47% suggesting increasing selection stress with a higher competition cost for colonization. In general, environmental selection was the key mechanism driving the spatial differentiation of groundwater microbiomes, with N-compounds and dissolved oxygen as the major determinants, but it was more prominent in the upper aquifer with low flow velocity. Across the lower aquifer with higher flow velocity, stochastic processes appeared to be additionally important for community assembly. Overall, this study highlights the impact of surface and subsurface conditions, as well as flow regime and related habitat accessibility, on groundwater microbiomes assembly.
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Understanding the community assembly mechanisms controlling biodiversity patterns is a central issue in ecology. Although it is generally accepted that both deterministic and stochastic processes play important roles in community assembly, quantifying their relative importance is challenging. Here we propose a general mathematical framework to quantify ecological stochasticity under different situations in which deterministic factors drive the communities more similar or dissimilar than null expectation. An index, normalized stochasticity ratio ( NST ), was developed with 50% as the boundary point between more deterministic (<50%) and more stochastic (>50%) assembly. NST was tested with simulated communities by considering abiotic filtering, competition, environmental noise, and spatial scales. All tested approaches showed limited performance at large spatial scales or under very high environmental noise. However, in all of the other simulated scenarios, NST showed high accuracy (0.90 to 1.00) and precision (0.91 to 0.99), with averages of 0.37 higher accuracy (0.1 to 0.7) and 0.33 higher precision (0.0 to 1.8) than previous approaches. NST was also applied to estimate stochasticity in the succession of a groundwater microbial community in response to organic carbon (vegetable oil) injection. Our results showed that community assembly was shifted from more deterministic ( NST = 21%) to more stochastic ( NST = 70%) right after organic carbon input. As the vegetable oil was consumed, the community gradually returned to be more deterministic ( NST = 27%). In addition, our results demonstrated that null model algorithms and community similarity metrics had strong effects on quantifying ecological stochasticity.
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Now is an opportune time to foster collaborations across sectors and geographical boundaries to enable development of best practices for drinking water (DW) microbiome research, focusing on accuracy and reproducibility of meta-omic techniques (while learning from past microbiome projects). A large-scale coordinated effort that builds on this foundation will enable the urgently needed comprehensive spatiotemporal understanding and control of DW microbiomes by engineering interventions to protect public health. This opinion paper highlights the need to initiate and conduct a large-scale coordinated DW microbiome project by addressing key knowledge gaps and recommends a roadmap for this effort.
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Eutrophication or excessive nutrient richness is an impairment of many freshwater ecosystems and a prominent cause of harmful algal blooms. It is generally accepted that nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients are the primary causative factor, however, for systems subject to large anthropogenic perturbation, this may no longer be true, and the role of micronutrients is often overlooked. Here we report a study on Lake Tai (Taihu), a large, spatially diverse and hypereutrophic lake in China. We performed small-scale mesocosm nutrient limitation bioassays using boron, iron, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, nitrogen and phosphorus on phytoplankton communities sampled from different locations in Taihu to test the relative effects of micronutrients on in situ algal assemblages. In addition to commonly-used methods of chemical and biological analysis (including algal phytoplankton counting), we used flow cytometry coupled with data-driven analysis to monitor changes to algal assemblages. We found statistically significant effects of limitation or co-limitation for boron, cobalt, copper and iron. For copper at one location chlorophyll-a was over four times higher for amendment with copper, nitrogen and phosphorous than for the latter two alone. Since copper is often proposed as amendment for the environmental management of harmful algal blooms, this result is significant. We have three primary conclusions: first, the strong effects for Cu that we report here are mutually consistent across chlorophyll-a results, count data, and results determined from a data-driven approach to flow cytometry. Given that we cannot rule out a role for a Fe-Cu homeostatic link in causing these effects, future research into MNs and how they interact with N, P, and other MNs should be pursued to explore new interventions for effective management of HABs. Second, in view of the stimulatory effect that Cu exhibited, management of HABs with Cu as an algal biocide may not always be advisable. Third, our approach to flow cytometry offers data confirming our results from chemical and biological analysis, however also holds promise for future development as a high-throughput tool for use in understanding changes in algal assemblages. The results from this study concur with a small and emerging body of literature suggesting that the potential role of micronutrients in eutrophication requires further consideration in environmental management.
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Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are implicated as hotspots for the dissemination of antibacterial resistance into the environment. However, the in situ processes governing removal, persistence, and evolution of resistance genes during wastewater treatment remain poorly understood. Here, we used quantitative metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches to achieve a broad-spectrum view of the flow and expression of genes related to antibacterial resistance to over 20 classes of antibiotics, 65 biocides, and 22 metals. All compartments of 12 WWTPs share persistent resistance genes with detectable transcriptional activities that were comparatively higher in the secondary effluent, where mobility genes also show higher relative abundance and expression ratios. The richness and abundance of resistance genes vary greatly across metagenomes from different treatment compartments, and their relative and absolute abundances correlate with bacterial community composition and biomass concentration. No strong drivers of resistome composition could be identified among the chemical stressors analyzed, although the sub-inhibitory concentration (hundreds of ng/L) of macrolide antibiotics in wastewater correlates with macrolide and vancomycin resistance genes. Contig-based analysis shows considerable co-localization between resistance and mobility genes and implies a history of substantial horizontal resistance transfer involving human bacterial pathogens. Based on these findings, we propose future inclusion of mobility incidence (M%) and host pathogenicity of antibiotic resistance genes in their quantitative health risk ranking models with an ultimate goal to assess the biological significance of wastewater resistomes with regard to disease control in humans or domestic livestock.
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In this study, the spatial and seasonal bacterioplankton community dynamics were investigated in the main channel of the Middle Route of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project (MRP) using Illumina HiSeq sequencing. Water samples were collected in spring and summer from south to north at eight water quality monitoring stations, respectively. The results showed that seasonal changes had a more pronounced effect on the bacterioplankton community compositions (BCCs) than spatial variation. The diversity analysis results indicated that samples of summer have more operational taxonomic units (OTUs), higher richness and diversity than those in spring. The main phyla, Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria and Chloroflexi, displayed significant differences (P < 0.05) between spring and summer in the main channel. The Redundancy analysis (RDA) targeting all samples indicated that specific conductivity (SPC), dissolved oxygen (DO), pH and temperature (T) might be key factors in driving BCCs, while trophic status showed no significant correlation (P > 0.05). The present study provides important insights into the potential ecological roles of specific taxa in the new artificial ecosystem and it offers reference for studies on ecosystem succession of other giant interbasin water diversion project in the world.
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We investigated changes in quality and quantity of extracellular and biomass-derived organic matter (OM) from three axenic algae (genera Rhodomonas, Chlamydomonas, Coelastrum) during growth of Limnohabitans parvus, Limnohabitans planktonicus and Polynucleobacter acidiphobus representing important clusters of freshwater planktonic Betaproteobacteria. Total extracellular and biomass-derived OM concentrations from each alga were approximately 20 and 1 mg l−1, respectively, from which up to 9% could be identified as free carbohydrates, polyamines, or free and combined amino acids. Carbohydrates represented 54–61% of identified compounds of the extracellular OM from each alga. In biomass-derived OM of Rhodomonas and Chlamydomonas 71–77% were amino acids and polyamines, while in that of Coelastrum 85% were carbohydrates. All bacteria grew on alga-derived OM of Coelastrum, whereas only Limnohabitans strains grew on OM from Rhodomonas and Chlamydomonas. Bacteria consumed 24–76% and 38–82% of all identified extracellular and biomass-derived OM compounds, respectively, and their consumption was proportional to the concentration of each OM compound in the different treatments. The bacterial biomass yield was higher than the total identifiable OM consumption indicating that bacteria also utilized other unidentified alga-derived OM compounds. Bacteria, however, also produced specific OM compounds suggesting enzymatic polymer degradation or de novo exudation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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