[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oil reservoirs are major sites of methane production and carbon turnover, processes with significant impacts on energy resources and global biogeochemical cycles. We applied a cultivation-independent genomic approach to define microbial community membership and predict roles for specific organisms in biogeochemical transformations in Alaska North Slope oil fields. Produced water samples were collected from six locations between 1,128 m (24 to 27°C) and 2,743 m (80 to 83°C) below the surface. Microbial community complexity decreased with increasing temperature, and the potential to degrade hydrocarbon compounds was most prevalent in the lower-temperature reservoirs. Sulfate availability, rather than sulfate reduction potential, seems to be the limiting factor for sulfide production in some of the reservoirs under investigation. Most microorganisms in the intermediate- and higher-temperature samples were related to previously studied methanogenic and nonmethanogenic archaea and thermophilic bacteria, but one candidate phylum bacterium, a member of the
(OP1), was present in Kuparuk sample K3. The greatest numbers of candidate phyla were recovered from the mesothermic reservoir samples SB1 and SB2. We reconstructed a nearly complete genome for an organism from the candidate phylum
(OD1) that was abundant in sample SB1. Consistent with prior findings for members of this lineage, the OD1 genome is small, and metabolic predictions support an obligately anaerobic, fermentation-based lifestyle. At moderate abundance in samples SB1 and SB2 were members of bacteria from other candidate phyla, including
(OP9), candidate phyla TA06 and WS6, and
(SAR406). The results presented here elucidate potential roles of organisms in oil reservoir biological processes.
The activities of microorganisms in oil reservoirs impact petroleum resource quality and the global carbon cycle. We show that bacteria belonging to candidate phyla are present in some oil reservoirs and provide the first insights into their potential roles in biogeochemical processes based on several nearly complete genomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs) harbor the microorganisms in biofilms and suspended communities, yet the diversity and spatiotemporal distribution have been studied mainly in the suspended communities. This study examined the diversity of biofilms in an urban DWDS, its relationship with suspended communities and its dynamics. The studied DWDS in Urbana, Illinois received conventionally treated and disinfected water sourced from the groundwater. Over a 2-year span, biomass were sampled from household water meters (n=213) and tap water (n=20) to represent biofilm and suspended communities, respectively. A positive correlation between operational taxonomic unit (OTU) abundance and occupancy was observed. Examined under a 'core-satellite' model, the biofilm community comprised 31 core populations that encompassed 76.7% of total 16 S rRNA gene pyrosequences. The biofilm communities shared with the suspended community highly abundant and prevalent OTUs, which related to methano-/methylotrophs (i.e., Methylophilaceae and Methylococcaceae) and aerobic heterotrophs (Sphingomonadaceae and Comamonadaceae), yet differed by specific core populations and lower diversity and evenness. Multivariate tests indicated seasonality as the main contributor to community structure variation. This pattern was resilient to annual change and correlated to the cyclic fluctuations of core populations. The findings of a distinctive biofilm community assemblage and methano-/methyltrophic primary production provide critical insights for developing more targeted water quality monitoring programs and treatment strategies for groundwater-sourced drinking water systems.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 7 August 2015; doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.136.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · The ISME Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In western North America, plague epizootics caused by Yersinia pestis appear to sweep across landscapes, primarily infecting and killing rodents, especially ground squirrels and prairie dogs. During these epizootics, the risk of Y. pestis transmission to humans is highest. While empirical models that include climatic conditions and densities of rodent hosts and fleas can predict when epizootics are triggered, bacterial transmission patterns across landscapes, and the scale at which Y. pestis is maintained in nature during inter-epizootic periods, are poorly defined. Elucidating the spatial extent of Y. pestis clones during epizootics can determine whether bacteria are propagated across landscapes or arise independently from local inter-epizootic maintenance reservoirs.
We used DNA microarray technology to identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 34 Y. pestis isolates collected in the western United States from 1980 to 2006, 21 of which were collected during plague epizootics in Colorado. Phylogenetic comparisons were used to elucidate the hypothesized spread of Y. pestis between the mountainous Front Range and the eastern plains of northern Colorado during epizootics. Isolates collected from across the western United States were included for regional comparisons.
By identifying SNPs that mark individual clones, our results strongly suggest that Y. pestis is maintained locally and that widespread epizootic activity is caused by multiple clones arising independently at small geographic scales. This is in contrast to propagation of individual clones being transported widely across landscapes. Regionally, our data are consistent with the notion that Y. pestis diversifies at relatively local scales following long-range translocation events. We recommend that surveillance and prediction by public health and wildlife management professionals focus more on models of local or regional weather patterns and ecological factors that may increase risk of widespread epizootics, rather than predicting or attempting to explain epizootics on the basis of movement of host species that may transport plague.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Space agencies maintain highly controlled cleanrooms to ensure the demands of planetary protection. To study potential effects of microbiome control, we analyzed microbial communities in two particulate-controlled cleanrooms (ISO 5 and ISO 8) and two vicinal uncontrolled areas (office, changing room) by cultivation and 16S rRNA gene amplicon analysis (cloning, pyrotagsequencing, and PhyloChip G3 analysis). Maintenance procedures affected the microbiome on total abundance and microbial community structure concerning richness, diversity and relative abundance of certain taxa. Cleanroom areas were found to be mainly predominated by potentially human-associated bacteria; archaeal signatures were detected in every area. Results indicate that microorganisms were mainly spread from the changing room (68%) into the cleanrooms, potentially carried along with human activity. The numbers of colony forming units were reduced by up to ~400 fold from the uncontrolled areas towards the ISO 5 cleanroom, accompanied with a reduction of the living portion of microorganisms from 45% (changing area) to 1% of total 16S rRNA gene signatures as revealed via propidium monoazide treatment of the samples. Our results demonstrate the strong effects of cleanroom maintenance on microbial communities in indoor environments and can be used to improve the design and operation of biologically controlled cleanrooms.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Networks of engineered waterways are critical in meeting growing water demands in megacities. To capture and treat rainwater in an energy-efficient manner, approaches can be developed for such networks that use ecological services from microbial communities. Traditionally, engineered waterways were regarded as homogeneous systems with little responsiveness of ecological communities and ensuing processes. This study provides ecogenomics-derived key information to explain the complexity of urban aquatic ecosystems in well-managed watersheds with densely interspersed land-use patterns. Overall, sedimentary microbial communities had higher richness and evenness compared to the suspended communities in water phase. Based on PERMANOVA analysis, variation in structure and functions of microbial communities over space within same land-use type was not significant. In contrast, it was significant between different land-use types, which had similar chemical profiles. Of the 36 environmental parameters studied spatially, only three metals, namely potassium, copper and aluminum significantly explained between 7-11 % of the variation in taxa and functions, based on Distance-based Linear Models (DistLM). The ecogenomics approach adopted here allows the identification of key drivers of microbial communities and their functions at watershed-scale. These findings can be used to enhance microbial services, which are critical to develop ecologically friendly waterways in rapidly urbanizing environments.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Environmental Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Subsurface biogeochemical cycling at the field-scale is controlled by a complex interplay between hydrological, geochemical and biological parameters. Mesoscale tank experiments can help to bridge the gap in complexity and understanding between well constrained batch and column experiments, and the interpretation of field data. In this contribution we present the results of a tank experiment investigating microbial sulfate reduction and inhibition in a porous media (20-30 mesh Ottawa sand). Microbial sulfate reduction is a process of wide biogeochemical significance, including in the context of oil reservoirs where the generation of sulfide can result in corrosion of steel infrastructure and additional downstream processing. Inhibition of sulfate reduction is therefore a high priority for this industry. Tracer experiments were conducted at the start and end of the experiment to constrain flow pathways and heterogeneities. The tank was inoculated with a San Francisco Bay mud/water enrichment utilizing acetate as the electron donor and continuous flow was initiated using bay-water with 10 mM acetate. Samples were taken from an array of 12 steel boreholes and showed spatiotemporal heterogeneities in the development of sulfidogenesis, reaching a peak of ~5 mM dissolved sulfide 71 days after inoculation. 10 mM perchlorate was then added to the influent to inhibit sulfidogenesis and dissolved sulfide decreased to ~0.03 mM by day 95. Stable isotope analysis of dissolved sulfate showed an increase in δ34S by ~10‰ compared with influent values but δ34S did not return to influent values by day 95, which may be indicative of the mixing between new and residual sulfate in the tank. Ongoing microbial community analyses are being used to help constrain microbial metabolisms. Finally, all the data is being integrated into a reactive transport model to better constrain the observed interplay between hydrology, geochemistry and biology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) are increasingly incorporated into consumer products that are disposed into sewage. In wastewater treatment, MNMs adsorb to activated sludge biomass where they may impact biological wastewater treatment performance, including nutrient removal. Here, we studied MNM effects on bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), specifically polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), biosynthesis because of its importance to enhanced biological phosphorus (P) removal (EBPR). Activated sludge was sampled from an anoxic selector of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), and PHB-containing bacteria were concentrated by density gradient centrifugation. After starvation to decrease intracellular PHB stores, bacteria were nutritionally augmented to promote PHB biosynthesis while being exposed to either MNMs (TiO2 or Ag) or to Ag salts (each at a concentration of 5 mg L-1). Cellular PHB concentration and PhyloChip community composition were analyzed. The final bacterial community composition differed from activated sludge, demonstrating that laboratory enrichment was selective. Still, PHB was synthesized to near-activated sludge levels. Ag salts altered final bacterial communities, although MNMs did not. PHB biosynthesis was diminished with Ag (salt or MNMs), indicating the potential for Ag-MNMs to physiologically impact EBPR through the effects of dissolved Ag ions on PHB producers.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Environmental Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coral disease is one of the major causes of reef degradation. Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) was described in the early 1990's as brown or purple amorphous areas of tissue on a coral and has since become one of the most prevalent diseases reported on Caribbean reefs. It has been identified in a number of coral species, but there is debate as to whether it is in fact the same disease in different corals. Further, it is questioned whether these macroscopic signs are in fact diagnostic of an infectious disease at all. The most commonly affected species in the Caribbean is the massive starlet coral Siderastrea siderea. We sampled this species in two locations, Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park. Tissue biopsies were collected from both healthy colonies and those with dark spot lesions. Microbial-community DNA was extracted from coral samples (mucus, tissue, and skeleton), amplified using bacterial-specific primers, and applied to PhyloChip G3 microarrays to examine the bacterial diversity associated with this coral. Samples were also screened for the presence of a fungal ribotype that has recently been implicated as a causative agent of DSS in another coral species, but the amplifications were unsuccessful. S. siderea samples did not cluster consistently based on health state (i.e., normal versus dark spot). Various bacteria, including Cyanobacteria and Vibrios, were observed to have increased relative abundance in the discolored tissue, but the patterns were not consistent across all DSS samples. Overall, our findings do not support the hypothesis that DSS in S. siderea is linked to a bacterial pathogen or pathogens. This dataset provides the most comprehensive overview to date of the bacterial community associated with the scleractinian coral S. siderea.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A fundamental knowledge of microbial community structure in petroleum reservoirs can improve predictive modeling of these environments. We used hydrocarbon profiles, stable isotopes, and high-density DNA microarray analysis to characterize microbial communities in produced water from four Alaskan North Slope hydrocarbon reservoirs. Produced fluids from Schrader Bluff (24-27°C), Kuparuk (47-70°C), Sag River (80°C), and Ivishak (80-83°C) reservoirs were collected, with paired soured/non-soured wells sampled from Kuparuk and Ivishak. Chemical and stable isotope data suggested Schrader Bluff had substantial biogenic methane, whereas methane was mostly thermogenic in deeper reservoirs. Acetoclastic methanogens (Methanosaeta) were most prominent in Schrader Bluff samples, and the combined δD and δ(13)C values of methane also indicated acetoclastic methanogenesis could be a primary route for biogenic methane. Conversely, hydrogenotrophic methanogens (e.g., Methanobacteriaceae) and sulfide-producing Archaeoglobus and Thermococcus were more prominent in Kuparuk samples. Sulfide-producing microbes were detected in all reservoirs, uncoupled from souring status (e.g., the non-soured Kuparuk samples had higher relative abundances of many sulfate-reducers compared to the soured sample, suggesting sulfate-reducers may be living fermentatively/syntrophically when sulfate is limited). Sulfate abundance via long-term seawater injection resulted in greater relative abundances of Desulfonauticus, Desulfomicrobium, and Desulfuromonas in the soured Ivishak well compared to the non-soured well. In the non-soured Ivishak sample, several taxa affiliated with Thermoanaerobacter and Halomonas predominated. Archaea were not detected in the deepest reservoirs. Functional group taxa differed in relative abundance among reservoirs, likely reflecting differing thermal and/or geochemical influences.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deciphering microbial communities and their role in Earth’s biosphere is crucial for addressing challenges in human health, agriculture, bioremediation and other natural processes. While next-generation sequencing platforms are still under development to improve accuracy, read length and sequencing depth, microarray-based methods have become an attractive alternative for 16S rRNA gene microbial community comparisons. The hybridization method is well-established in the laboratory. Thus main areas of improvement lie with the development of improved bioinformatics and statistical procedures for microarray data, rather than with improvements to the platform itself. In this communication we applied recently-developed bioinformatics tools to re-analyze G3 PhyloChip™ DNA microarray data acquired from deep ocean samples collected during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We show that data collected with the G3 PhyloChip™ assay can be analyzed at various stages of resolution, from individual probes to pairs of probes to quartets of probes and finally at the commonly used probe-set level where each probe-set is associated with one operational taxonomic unit (OTU). Our analysis methods comprised topological data analysis to facilitate the detection of outlier bio-specimens and the reconstruction of empirical OTUs (eOTUs) in an unsupervised manner, without the need of pre-defined reference OTUs (rOTUs). We observed that the quartet level provided sufficient resolution for identifying a subtle outlier sample with TDA while the eOTU reconstruction was useful for annotation of the taxa associated with significant population changes in the elevated hydrocarbon waters. The presented methods will improve the deduction of important biological processes from G3 PhyloChip experiments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Earth harbors an enormous portion of subsurface microbial life, whose microbiome flux across geographical locations remains mainly unexplored due to difficult access to samples. Here, we investigated the microbiome relatedness of subsurface biofilms of two sulfidic springs in southeast Germany that have similar physical and chemical parameters and are fed by one deep groundwater current. Due to their unique hydrogeological setting these springs provide accessible windows to subsurface biofilms dominated by the same uncultivated archaeal species, called SM1 Euryarchaeon. Comparative analysis of infrared imaging spectra demonstrated great variations in archaeal membrane composition between biofilms of the two springs, suggesting different SM1 euryarchaeal strains of the same species at both aquifer outlets. This strain variation was supported by ultrastructural and metagenomic analyses of the archaeal biofilms, which included intergenic spacer region sequencing of the rRNA gene operon. At 16S rRNA gene level, PhyloChip G3 DNA microarray detected similar biofilm communities for archaea, but site-specific communities for bacteria. Both biofilms showed an enrichment of different deltaproteobacterial operational taxonomic units, whose families were, however, congruent as were their lipid spectra. Consequently, the function of the major proportion of the bacteriome appeared to be conserved across the geographic locations studied, which was confirmed by dsrB-directed quantitative PCR. Consequently, microbiome differences of these subsurface biofilms exist at subtle nuances for archaea (strain level variation) and at higher taxonomic levels for predominant bacteria without a substantial perturbation in bacteriome function. The results of this communication provide deep insight into the dynamics of subsurface microbial life and warrant its future investigation with regard to metabolic and genomic analyses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coral diseases impact reefs globally. Although we continue to describe diseases, little is known about the etiology or progression of even the most common cases. To examine a spectrum of coral health and determine factors of disease progression we examined Orbicella faveolata exhibiting signs of Yellow Band Disease (YBD), a widespread condition in the Caribbean. We used a novel combined approach to assess three members of the coral holobiont: the coral-host, associated Symbiodinium algae, and bacteria. We profiled three conditions: (1) healthy-appearing colonies (HH), (2) healthy-appearing tissue on diseased colonies (HD), and (3) diseased lesion (DD). Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis revealed health state-specific diversity in Symbiodinium clade associations. 16S ribosomal RNA gene microarrays (PhyloChips) and O. faveolata complimentary DNA microarrays revealed the bacterial community structure and host transcriptional response, respectively. A distinct bacterial community structure marked each health state. Diseased samples were associated with two to three times more bacterial diversity. HD samples had the highest bacterial richness, which included components associated with HH and DD, as well as additional unique families. The host transcriptome under YBD revealed a reduced cellular expression of defense- and metabolism-related processes, while the neighboring HD condition exhibited an intermediate expression profile. Although HD tissue appeared visibly healthy, the microbial communities and gene expression profiles were distinct. HD should be regarded as an additional (intermediate) state of disease, which is important for understanding the progression of YBD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Radionuclide- and heavy metal-contaminated subsurface sediments remain a legacy of Cold War nuclear weapons research and recent nuclear power plant failures. Within such contaminated sediments, remediation activities are necessary to mitigate groundwater contamination. A promising approach makes use of extant microbial communities capable of hydrolyzing organophosphate substrates to promote mineralization of soluble contaminants within deep subsurface environments.
Uranium-contaminated sediments from the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Field Research Center (ORFRC) Area 2 site were used in slurry experiments to identify microbial communities involved in hydrolysis of 10 mM organophosphate amendments [i.e., glycerol-2-phosphate (G2P) or glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P)] in synthetic groundwater at pH 5.5 and pH 6.8. Following 36 day (G2P) and 20 day (G3P) amended treatments, maximum phosphate (PO43−) concentrations of 4.8 mM and 8.9 mM were measured, respectively. Use of the PhyloChip 16S rRNA microarray identified 2,120 archaeal and bacterial taxa representing 46 phyla, 66 classes, 110 orders, and 186 families among all treatments. Measures of archaeal and bacterial richness were lowest under G2P (pH 5.5) treatments and greatest with G3P (pH 6.8) treatments. Members of the phyla Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria demonstrated the greatest enrichment in response to organophosphate amendments and the OTUs that increased in relative abundance by 2-fold or greater accounted for 9%–50% and 3%–17% of total detected Archaea and Bacteria, respectively.
This work provided a characterization of the distinct ORFRC subsurface microbial communities that contributed to increased concentrations of extracellular phosphate via hydrolysis of organophosphate substrate amendments. Within subsurface environments that are not ideal for reductive precipitation of uranium, strategies that harness microbial phosphate metabolism to promote uranium phosphate precipitation could offer an alternative approach for in situ sequestration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Intestinal microbiome constitutes a symbiotic ecosystem that is essential for health, and changes in its composition/function cause various illnesses. Biochemical milieu shapes the structure and function of the microbiome. Recently, we found marked differences in the abundance of numerous bacterial taxa between ESRD and healthy individuals. Influx of urea and uric acid and dietary restriction of fruits and vegetables to prevent hyperkalemia alter ESRD patients' intestinal milieu. We hypothesized that relative abundances of bacteria possessing urease, uricase, and p-cresol- and indole-producing enzymes is increased, while abundance of bacteria containing enzymes converting dietary fiber to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) is reduced in ESRD.
Reference sets of bacteria containing genes of interest were compiled to family, and sets of intestinal bacterial families showing differential abundances between 12 healthy and 24 ESRD individuals enrolled in our original study were compiled. Overlap between sets was assessed using hypergeometric distribution tests.
Among 19 microbial families that were dominant in ESRD patients, 12 possessed urease, 5 possessed uricase, and 4 possessed indole and p-cresol-forming enzymes. Among 4 microbial families that were diminished in ESRD patients, 2 possessed butyrate-forming enzymes. Probabilities of these overlapping distributions were <0.05.
ESRD patients exhibited significant expansion of bacterial families possessing urease, uricase, and indole and p-cresol forming enzymes, and contraction of families possessing butyrate-forming enzymes. Given the deleterious effects of indoxyl sulfate, p-cresol sulfate, and urea-derived ammonia, and beneficial actions of SCFA, these changes in intestinal microbial metabolism contribute to uremic toxicity and inflammation.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · American Journal of Nephrology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Microbial community profiles of recently formed hot spring systems ranging in temperatures from 57°C to 100°C and pH values from 2 to 4 in Hveragerði (Iceland) were analyzed with PhyloChip G3 technology. In total, 1173 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) spanning 576 subfamilies and 38 archaeal OTUs covering 32 subfamilies were observed. As expected, the hyperthermophilic (∼100°C) spring system exhibited both low microbial biomass and diversity when compared to thermophilic (∼60°C) springs. Ordination analysis revealed distinct bacterial and archaeal diversity in geographically distinct hot springs. Slight variations in temperature (from 57°C to 64°C) within the interconnected pools led to a marked fluctuation in microbial abundance and diversity. Correlation and PERMANOVA tests provided evidence that temperature was the key environmental factor responsible for microbial community dynamics, while pH, H2S, and SO2 influenced the abundance of specific microbial groups. When archaeal community composition was analyzed, the majority of detected OTUs correlated negatively with temperature, and few correlated positively with pH. Key Words: Microbial diversity-PhyloChip G3-Acidophilic-Thermophilic-Hot springs-Iceland. Astrobiology 14, xxx-xxx.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wastewater treatment plants use a variety of bioreactor types and configurations to remove organic matter and nutrients. Little is known regarding the effects of different configurations and within-plant immigration on microbial community dynamics. Previously, we found that the structure of ammonia-oxidizing bacterial (AOB) communities in a full-scale dispersed growth activated sludge bioreactor correlated strongly with levels of NO2 (-) entering the reactor from an upstream trickling filter. Here, to further examine this puzzling association, we profile within-plant microbial biogeography (spatial variation) and test the hypothesis that substantial microbial immigration occurs along a transect (raw influent, trickling filter biofilm, trickling filter effluent, and activated sludge) at the same full-scale wastewater treatment plant. AOB amoA gene abundance increased >30-fold between influent and trickling filter effluent concomitant with NO2 (-) production, indicating unexpected growth and activity of AOB within the trickling filter. Nitrosomonas europaea was the dominant AOB phylotype in trickling filter biofilm and effluent, while a distinct "Nitrosomonas-like" lineage dominated in activated sludge. Prior time series indicated that this "Nitrosomonas-like" lineage was dominant when NO2 (-) levels in the trickling filter effluent (i.e., activated sludge influent) were low, while N. europaea became dominant in the activated sludge when NO2 (-) levels were high. This is consistent with the hypothesis that NO2 (-) production may cooccur with biofilm sloughing, releasing N. europaea from the trickling filter into the activated sludge bioreactor. Phylogenetic microarray (PhyloChip) analyses revealed significant spatial variation in taxonomic diversity, including a large excess of methanogens in the trickling filter relative to activated sludge and attenuation of Enterobacteriaceae across the transect, and demonstrated transport of a highly diverse microbial community via the trickling filter effluent to the activated sludge bioreactor. Our results provide compelling evidence that substantial immigration between coupled process units occurs and may exert significant influence over microbial community dynamics within staged bioreactors.
No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coral disease is a global problem. Diseases are typically named or described based on macroscopic changes, but broad signs of coral distress such as tissue loss or discoloration are unlikely to be specific to a particular pathogen. For example, there appear to be multiple diseases that manifest the rapid tissue loss that characterizes ‘white plague.’ PhyloChip™ G3 microarrays were used to compare the bacterial community composition of both healthy and white plague-like diseased corals. Samples of lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis, formerly of the genus Montastraea
) were collected from two geographically distinct areas, Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park, to determine if there were biogeographic differences between the diseases. In fact, all diseased samples clustered together, however there was no consistent link to Aurantimonas coralicida, which has been described as the causative agent of white plague type II. The microarrays revealed a large amount of bacterial heterogeneity within the healthy corals and less diversity in the diseased corals. Gram-positive bacterial groups (Actinobacteria, Firmicutes) comprised a greater proportion of the operational taxonomic units (OTUs) unique to healthy samples. Diseased samples were enriched in OTUs from the families Corynebacteriaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Rhodobacteraceae, and Streptococcaceae. Much previous coral disease work has used clone libraries, which seem to be methodologically biased toward recovery of Gram-negative bacterial sequences and may therefore have missed the importance of Gram-positive groups. The PhyloChip™data presented here provide a broader characterization of the bacterial community changes that occur within Orbicella annularis during the shift from a healthy to diseased state.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coarse woody debris is an important biomass pool in forest ecosystems that numerous groups of insects have evolved to take advantage of. These insects are ecologically important and represent useful natural analogs for biomass to biofuel conversion. Using a range of molecular approaches combined with microelectrode measurements of oxygen, we have characterized the gut microbiome and physiology of Odontotaenius disjunctus, a wood-feeding beetle native to the eastern United States. We hypothesized that morphological and physiological differences among gut regions would correspond to distinct microbial populations and activities. In fact, significantly different communities were found in the foregut (FG), midgut (MG)/posterior hindgut (PHG) and anterior hindgut (AHG), with Actinobacteria and Rhizobiales being more abundant toward the FG and PHG. Conversely, fermentative bacteria such as Bacteroidetes and Clostridia were more abundant in the AHG, and also the sole region where methanogenic Archaea were detected. Although each gut region possessed an anaerobic core, micron-scale profiling identified radial gradients in oxygen concentration in all regions. Nitrogen fixation was confirmed by (15)N2 incorporation, and nitrogenase gene (nifH) expression was greatest in the AHG. Phylogenetic analysis of nifH identified the most abundant transcript as related to Ni-Fe nitrogenase of a Bacteroidetes species, Paludibacter propionicigenes. Overall, we demonstrate not only a compartmentalized microbiome in this beetle digestive tract but also sharp oxygen gradients that may permit aerobic and anaerobic metabolism to occur within the same regions in close proximity. We provide evidence for the microbial fixation of N2 that is important for this beetle to subsist on woody biomass.