Different regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene evolve at different evolutionary rates. The scientific outcome of short read sequencing studies therefore alters with the gene region sequenced. We wanted to gain insight in the impact of primer choice on the outcome of short read sequencing efforts. All the unknowns associated with sequencing data, i.e. primer coverage rate, phylogeny, OTU-richness and taxonomic assignment, were therefore implemented in one study for ten well established universal primers (338f/r, 518f/r, 799f/r, 926f/r and 1062f/r) targeting dispersed regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. All analyses were performed on nearly full length and in silico generated short read sequence libraries containing 1175 sequences that were carefully chosen as to present a representative substitute of the SILVA SSU database. The 518f and 799r primers, targeting the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene, were found to be particularly suited for short read sequencing studies, while the primer 1062r, targeting V6, seemed to be least reliable. Our results will assist scientists in considering whether the best option for their study is to select the most informative primer, or the primer that excludes interferences by host-organelle DNA. The methodology followed can be extrapolated to other primers, allowing their evaluation prior to the experiment.
Sortases are transpeptidases that couple surface proteins to the peptidoglycan of Gram-positive bacteria, and several sortase-dependent proteins (SDPs) have been demonstrated to be crucial for the interactions of pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria with their hosts. Here, we studied the role of sortase A (SrtA) in Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1, a model Lactobacillus for probiotic organisms. An isogenic srtA deletion derivative was constructed which did not show residual SrtA activity. DNA microarray-based transcriptome analysis revealed that the srtA deletion had only minor impact on the full-genome transcriptome of L. plantarum, while the expression of SDP-encoding genes remained completely unaffected. Mass spectrometry analysis of the bacterial cell surface proteome, which was assessed by trypsinization of intact bacterial cells and by LiCl protein extraction, revealed that SrtA is required for the appropriate subcellular location of specific SDPs and for their covalent coupling to the cell envelope, respectively. We further found that SrtA deficiency did not affect the persistence and/or survival of L. plantarum in the gastrointestinal tract of mice. In addition, an in vitro immature dendritic cell (iDC) assay revealed that the removal of surface proteins by LiCl strongly affected the proinflammatory signaling properties of the SrtA-deficient strain but not of the wild type, which suggests a role of SDPs in host immune response modulation.
Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis (Cmm) causes bacterial wilt and canker in tomato. Cmm is present nearly in all European countries. During the last three years several local outbreaks were detected in Belgium. The lack of a convenient high-resolution strain-typing method has hampered the study of the routes of transmission of Cmm and epidemiology in tomato cultivation. In this study the genetic relatedness among a worldwide collection of Cmm strains and their relatives was approached by gyrB and dnaA gene sequencing. Further, we developed and applied a multilocus variable number of tandem repeats analysis (MLVA) scheme to discriminate among Cmm strains.
A phylogenetic analysis of gyrB and dnaA gene sequences of 56 Cmm strains demonstrated that Belgian Cmm strains from recent outbreaks of 2010–2012 form a genetically uniform group within the Cmm clade, and Cmm is phylogenetically distinct from other Clavibacter subspecies and from non-pathogenic Clavibacter-like strains. MLVA conducted with eight minisatellite loci detected 25 haplotypes within Cmm. All strains from Belgian outbreaks, isolated between 2010 and 2012, together with two French strains from 2010 seem to form one monomorphic group. Regardless of the isolation year, location or tomato cultivar, Belgian strains from recent outbreaks belonged to the same haplotype. On the contrary, strains from diverse geographical locations or isolated over longer periods of time formed mostly singletons.
We hypothesise that the introduction might have originated from one lot of seeds or contaminated tomato seedlings that was the source of the outbreak in 2010 and that these Cmm strains persisted and induced infection in 2011 and 2012. Our results demonstrate that MLVA is a promising typing technique for a local surveillance and outbreaks investigation in epidemiological studies of Cmm.
Clavibacter; MLVA; Bacterial typing; Epidemiology; Bacterial wilt and canker; Plant pathogen
Both nonclassical and intermediate monocytes have been implicated in different inflammatory conditions. We hypothesized that these monocytes would increase during pregnancy, a condition associated with generalized activation of inflammatory responses and that they would increase even more during preeclampsia, in which inflammatory responses are further stimulated. In the present study we investigated changes in monocyte subsets during healthy pregnancy and preeclampsia in humans and rats.
Blood monocyte subsets of nonpregnant, preeclamptic and healthy pregnant women were identified with CD14 and CD16. In nonpregnant and pregnant rats, blood monocytes were identified with CD172a and CD43, as well as in rats infused with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a pro-inflammatory stimulus known to induce preeclampsia-like symptoms. Total and CD206-positive macrophages were quantified in placentas of these animals.
Lower percentages of classical monocytes were found in pregnant women (91%–[83–98%]) compared to nonpregnant women (94%–[90–98%]) and even less in preeclamptic patients (90%–[61–92%]). In contrast, the percentage of combined nonclassical/intermediate monocytes was higher in pregnant women (8.5%–[2.3–16.6%] vs. 5.6%–[1.9–9.5%]) and even higher in preeclamptic patients (9.9%–[7.8–38.7%]), which was caused by a selective increase of intermediate monocytes. In rats, we also found lower percentages of classical monocytes and higher percentages of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant versus nonpregnant rats. ATP infusion increased the percentage of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats even further but not in nonpregnant rats. These nonclassical monocytes showed a more activated phenotype in pregnant ATP-infused rats only. Mesometrial triangles of ATP-infused rats had less CD206-positive macrophages as compared to those of saline-infused rats.
The higher percentage of nonclassical/intermediate monocytes found in pregnancy and preeclampsia confirms their association with inflammatory responses. The observation that ATP stimulated numbers/activation of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats only, suggests that nonclassical monocytes are specifically altered in pregnancy and may play a role in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
Interest in arcobacters in veterinary and human public health has increased since the first report of the isolation of arcobacters from food of animal origin. Since then, studies worldwide have reported the occurrence of arcobacters on food and in food production animals and have highlighted possible transmission, especially of Arcobacter butzleri, to the human population. In humans, arcobacters are associated with enteritis and septicemia. To assess their clinical relevance for humans and animals, evaluation of potential virulence factors is required. However, up to now, little has been known about the mechanisms of pathogenicity. Because of their close phylogenetic affiliation to the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter and their similar clinical manifestations, the presence of nine putative Campylobacter virulence genes (cadF, ciaB, cj1349, hecA, hecB, irgA, mviN, pldA, and tlyA) previously identified in the recent Arcobacter butzleri ATCC 49616 genome sequence was determined in a large set of human and animal Arcobacter butzleri, Arcobacter cryaerophilus, and Arcobacter skirrowii strains after the development of rapid and accurate PCR assays and confirmed by sequencing and dot blot hybridization.
Worldwide, Dickeya (formerly Erwinia chrysanthemi) is causing soft rot diseases on a large diversity of crops and ornamental plants. Strains affecting potato are mainly found in D. dadantii, D. dianthicola and D. zeae, which appear to have a marked geographical distribution. Furthermore, a few Dickeya isolates from potato are attributed to D. chrysanthemi and D. dieffenbachiae. In Europe, isolates of Erwinia chrysanthemi biovar 1 and biovar 7 from potato are now classified in D. dianthicola. However, in the past few years, a new Dickeya biovar 3 variant, tentatively named ‘Dickeya solani’, has emerged as a common major threat, in particular in seed potatoes. Sequences of a fliC gene fragment were used to generate a phylogeny of Dickeya reference strains from culture collections and with this reference backbone, to classify pectinolytic isolates, i.e. Dickeya spp. from potato and ornamental plants. The reference strains of the currently recognized Dickeya species and ‘D. solani’ were unambiguously delineated in the fliC phylogram. D. dadantii, D. dianthicola and ‘D. solani’ displayed unbranched clades, while D. chrysanthemi, D. zeae and D. dieffenbachiae branched into subclades and lineages. Moreover, Dickeya isolates from diagnostic samples, in particular biovar 3 isolates from greenhouse ornamentals, formed several new lineages. Most of these isolates were positioned between the clade of ‘D. solani’ and D. dadantii as transition variants. New lineages also appeared in D. dieffenbachiae and in D. zeae. The strains and isolates of D. dianthicola and ‘D. solani’ were differentiated by a fliC sequence useful for barcode identification. A fliC TaqMan®real-time PCR was developed for ‘D. solani’ and the assay was provisionally evaluated in direct analysis of diagnostic potato samples. This molecular tool can support the efforts to control this particular phytopathogen in seed potato certification.
Knowledge on long-term preservation of micro-organisms is limited and research in the field is scarce despite its importance for microbial biodiversity and biotechnological innovation. Preservation of fastidious organisms such as methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) has proven difficult. Most MOB do not survive lyophilization and only some can be cryopreserved successfully for short periods. A large-scale study was designed for a diverse set of MOB applying fifteen cryopreservation or lyophilization conditions. After three, six and twelve months of preservation, the viability (via live-dead flow cytometry) and culturability (via most-probable number analysis and plating) of the cells were assessed. All strains could be cryopreserved without a significant loss in culturability using 1% trehalose in 10-fold diluted TSB (TT) as preservation medium and 5% DMSO as cryoprotectant. Several other cryopreservation and lyophilization conditions, all of which involved the use of TT medium, also allowed successful preservation but showed a considerable loss in culturability. We demonstrate here that most of these non-culturables survived preservation according to viability assessment indicating that preservation induces a viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state in a significant fraction of cells. Since this state is reversible, these findings have major implications shifting the emphasis from survival to revival of cells in a preservation protocol. We showed that MOB cells could be significantly resuscitated from the VBNC state using the TT preservation medium.
Chloropropham-degrading cultures were obtained from sludge and soil samples by using two different enrichment techniques: (i) planktonic enrichments in shaken liquid medium and (ii) biofilm enrichments on two types of solid matrixes (plastic chips and gravel). Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting showed that planktonic and biofilm cultures had a different community composition depending on the presence and type of added solid matrix during enrichment. This was reflected in the unique chloropropham-degrading species that could be isolated from the different cultures. Planktonic and biofilm cultures also differed in chloropropham-degrading activity. With biofilm cultures, slower chloropropham removal was observed, but with less build-up of the toxic intermediate 3-chloroaniline. Disruption of the biofilm architecture resulted in degradation characteristics shifting toward those of the free suspensions, indicating the importance of a well-established biofilm structure for good performance. These results show that biofilm-mediated enrichment techniques can be used to select for pollutant-degrading microorganisms that like to proliferate in a biofilm and that cannot be isolated using conventional shaken-liquid procedures. Furthermore, the influence of the biofilm architecture on the pesticide degradation characteristics suggests that for bioaugmentation the use of biofilm catabolic communities might be a proficient alternative to using planktonic freely suspended cultures.
Actinobaculum schaalii, which belongs to the group of Gram-positive rods, is difficult to culture. Using molecular genetics, Actinobaculum schaalii could be identified as a causing microorganism in a case of Fournier's gangrene.
The refrigerated storage of raw milk throughout the dairy chain prior to heat treatment creates selective conditions for growth of psychrotolerant bacteria. These bacteria, mainly belonging to the genus Pseudomonas, are capable of producing thermoresistant extracellular proteases and lipases, which can cause spoilage and structural defects in pasteurized and ultra-high-temperature-treated milk (products). To map the influence of refrigerated storage on the growth of these pseudomonads, milk samples were taken after the first milking turn and incubated laboratory scale at temperatures simulating optimal and suboptimal preprocessing storage conditions. The outgrowth of Pseudomonas members was monitored over time by means of cultivation-independent denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Isolates were identified by a polyphasic approach. These incubations revealed that outgrowth of Pseudomonas members occurred from the beginning of the dairy chain (farm tank) under both optimal and suboptimal storage conditions. An even greater risk for outgrowth, as indicated by a vast increase of about 2 log CFU per ml raw milk, existed downstream in the chain, especially when raw milk was stored under suboptimal conditions. This difference in Pseudomonas outgrowth between optimal and suboptimal storage was already statistically significant within the farm tank. The predominant taxa were identified as Pseudomonas gessardii, Pseudomonas gessardii-like, Pseudomonas fluorescens-like, Pseudomonas lundensis, Pseudomonas fragi, and Pseudomonas fragi-like. Those taxa show an important spoilage potential as determined on elective media for proteolysis and lipolysis.
Modulation of the immune system is one of the most plausible mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria on human health. Presently, the specific probiotic cell products responsible for immunomodulation are largely unknown. In this study, the genetic and phenotypic diversity of strains of the Lactobacillus plantarum species were investigated to identify genes of L. plantarum with the potential to influence the amounts of cytokines interleukin 10 (IL-10) and IL-12 and the ratio of IL-10/IL-12 produced by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
A total of 42 Lactobacillus plantarum strains isolated from diverse environmental and human sources were evaluated for their capacity to stimulate cytokine production in PBMCs. The L. plantarum strains induced the secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 over an average 14-fold range and secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12 over an average 16-fold range. Comparisons of the strain-specific cytokine responses of PBMCs to comparative genome hybridization profiles obtained with L. plantarum WCFS1 DNA microarrays (also termed gene-trait matching) resulted in the identification of 6 candidate genetic loci with immunomodulatory capacities. These loci included genes encoding an N-acetyl-glucosamine/galactosamine phosphotransferase system, the LamBDCA quorum sensing system, and components of the plantaricin (bacteriocin) biosynthesis and transport pathway. Deletion of these genes in L. plantarum WCFS1 resulted in growth phase-dependent changes in the PBMC IL-10 and IL-12 cytokine profiles compared with wild-type cells.
The altered PBMC cytokine profiles obtained with the L. plantarum WCFS1 mutants were in good agreement with the predictions made by gene-trait matching for the 42 L. plantarum strains. This study therefore resulted in the identification of genes present in certain strains of L. plantarum which might be responsible for the stimulation of anti- or pro-inflammatory immune responses in the gut.
Probiotics can be used to stimulate or regulate epithelial and immune cells of the intestinal mucosa and generate beneficial mucosal immunomodulatory effects. Beneficial effects of specific strains of probiotics have been established in the treatment and prevention of various intestinal disorders, including allergic diseases and diarrhea. However, the precise molecular mechanisms and the strain-dependent factors involved are poorly understood.
In this study, we aimed to identify gene loci in the model probiotic organism Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 that modulate the immune response of host dendritic cells. The amounts of IL-10 and IL-12 secreted by dendritic cells (DCs) after stimulation with 42 individual L. plantarum strains were measured and correlated with the strain-specific genomic composition using comparative genome hybridisation and the Random Forest algorithm. This in silico “gene-trait matching” approach led to the identification of eight candidate genes in the L. plantarum genome that might modulate the DC cytokine response to L. plantarum. Six of these genes were involved in bacteriocin production or secretion, one encoded a bile salt hydrolase and one encoded a transcription regulator of which the exact function is unknown. Subsequently, gene deletions mutants were constructed in L. plantarum WCFS1 and compared to the wild-type strain in DC stimulation assays. All three bacteriocin mutants as well as the transcription regulator (lp_2991) had the predicted effect on cytokine production confirming their immunomodulatory effect on the DC response to L. plantarum. Transcriptome analysis and qPCR data showed that transcript level of gtcA3, which is predicted to be involved in glycosylation of cell wall teichoic acids, was substantially increased in the lp_2991 deletion mutant (44 and 29 fold respectively).
Comparative genome hybridization led to the identification of gene loci in L. plantarum WCFS1 that modulate the immune response of DCs.
Machine learning techniques have shown to improve bacterial species classification based on fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) data. Nonetheless, FAME analysis has a limited resolution for discrimination of bacteria at the species level. In this paper, we approach the species classification problem from a taxonomic point of view. Such a taxonomy or tree is typically obtained by applying clustering algorithms on FAME data or on 16S rRNA gene data. The knowledge gained from the tree can then be used to evaluate FAME-based classifiers, resulting in a novel framework for bacterial species classification.
In view of learning in a taxonomic framework, we consider two types of trees. First, a FAME tree is constructed with a supervised divisive clustering algorithm. Subsequently, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, phylogenetic trees are inferred by the NJ and UPGMA methods. In this second approach, the species classification problem is based on the combination of two different types of data. Herein, 16S rRNA gene sequence data is used for phylogenetic tree inference and the corresponding binary tree splits are learned based on FAME data. We call this learning approach 'phylogenetic learning'. Supervised Random Forest models are developed to train the classification tasks in a stratified cross-validation setting. In this way, better classification results are obtained for species that are typically hard to distinguish by a single or flat multi-class classification model.
FAME-based bacterial species classification is successfully evaluated in a taxonomic framework. Although the proposed approach does not improve the overall accuracy compared to flat multi-class classification, it has some distinct advantages. First, it has better capabilities for distinguishing species on which flat multi-class classification fails. Secondly, the hierarchical classification structure allows to easily evaluate and visualize the resolution of FAME data for the discrimination of bacterial species. Summarized, by phylogenetic learning we are able to situate and evaluate FAME-based bacterial species classification in a more informative context.
Many physiological and behavioral changes take place during pregnancy, including changes in taste and an increase in food intake. These changes are necessary to ensure growth and development of a healthy fetus. Both hyperphagia and taste changes during pregnancy may be induced by sex hormones estrogen and progesterone that are increased during pregnancy. Indeed, it has been shown that estrogen decreases food intake, while progesterone increases food intake. This is for instance apparent from the fact that food intake changes during the menstrual cycle with variation in sex hormones. This review will give a short overview of the effects of pregnancy and sex hormones on food intake and taste.
Pregnancy; Sex Hormones; Food Intake; Taste; Progesterone; Estrogen
2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is a carcinogenic heterocyclic aromatic amine formed in meat products during cooking. Although the formation of hazardous PhIP metabolites by mammalian enzymes has been extensively reported, research on the putative involvement of the human intestinal microbiota in PhIP metabolism remains scarce. In this study, the in vitro conversion of PhIP into its microbial derivate, 7-hydroxy-5-methyl-3-phenyl-6,7,8,9-tetrahydropyrido[3′,2′:4,5]imidazo[1,2-a]pyrimidin-5-ium chloride (PhIP-M1), by fecal samples from 18 human volunteers was investigated. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that all human fecal samples transformed PhIP but with efficiencies ranging from 1.8 to 96% after 72 h of incubation. Two PhIP-transforming strains, PhIP-M1-a and PhIP-M1-b, were isolated from human feces and identified by fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism and pheS sequence analyses as Enterococcus faecium strains. Some strains from culture collections belonging to the species E. durans, E. avium, E. faecium, and Lactobacillus reuteri were also able to perform this transformation. Yeast extract, special peptone, and meat extract supported PhIP transformation by the enriched E. faecium strains, while tryptone, monomeric sugars, starch, and cellulose did not. Glycerol was identified as a fecal matrix constituent required for PhIP transformation. Abiotic synthesis of PhIP-M1 and quantification of the glycerol metabolite 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA) confirmed that the anaerobic fermentation of glycerol via 3-HPA is the critical bacterial transformation process responsible for the formation of PhIP-M1. Whether it is a detoxification is still a matter of debate, since PhIP-M1 has been shown to be cytotoxic toward Caco-2 cells but is not mutagenic in the Ames assay.
With the quantity of genomic data increasing at an exponential rate, it is imperative that these data be captured electronically, in a standard format. Standardization activities must proceed within the auspices of open-access and international working bodies. To tackle the issues surrounding the development of better descriptions of genomic investigations, we have formed the Genomic Standards Consortium (GSC). Here, we introduce the minimum information about a genome sequence (MIGS) specification with the intent of promoting participation in its development and discussing the resources that will be required to develop improved mechanisms of metadata capture and exchange. As part of its wider goals, the GSC also supports improving the ‘transparency’ of the information contained in existing genomic databases.
Technological developments provide new insights into prokaryotic evolution and diversity and provoke a continuous need to update taxonomy and revise classification schemes. Our present species concept and definition are being challenged by the growing amount of whole genomic information, which should allow improvements in the natural species definition. The continuous quest for an objective and stable method for sorting strains into coherent homogeneous groups is inherent to prokaryotic systematics and nomenclature. Morphological, biochemical, physiological, phenotypic and chemotaxonomic criteria have been complemented by molecular data and pragmatic, purpose built, species definitions are being replaced by more natural ones based on evolutionary insights. It is imperative to give due consideration to both fundamental and applied aspects of future species concepts and definitions. The present paper discusses the present practice in prokaryotic taxonomy of how this system developed and how it may evolve in the future.
prokaryotes; taxonomy; landscaping prokaryotic systems; species definition
An evolutionary algorithm was applied to study the complex interactions between medium parameters and their effects on the isolation of denitrifying bacteria, both in number and in diversity. Growth media with a pH of 7 and a nitrogen concentration of 3 mM, supplemented with 1 ml of vitamin solution but not with sodium chloride or riboflavin, were the most successful for the isolation of denitrifiers from activated sludge. The use of ethanol or succinate as a carbon source and a molar C/N ratio of 2.5, 20, or 25 were also favorable. After testing of 60 different medium parameter combinations and comparison with each other as well as with the standard medium Trypticase soy agar supplemented with nitrate, three growth media were highly suitable for the cultivation of denitrifying bacteria. All evaluated isolation conditions were used to study the cultivable denitrifier diversity of activated sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. One hundred ninety-nine denitrifiers were isolated, the majority of which belonged to the Betaproteobacteria (50.4%) and the Alphaproteobacteria (36.8%). Representatives of Gammaproteobacteria (5.6%), Epsilonproteobacteria (2%), and Firmicutes (4%) and one isolate of the Bacteroidetes were also found. This study revealed a much more diverse denitrifying community than that previously described in cultivation-dependent research on activated sludge.
The presence of highly heat-resistant spores of Bacillus sporothermodurans in ultrahigh-temperature or sterilized consumer milk has emerged as an important item in the dairy industry. Their presence is considered undesirable since they hamper the achievement of commercial sterility requirements. By using a selective 30-min heat treatment at 100°C, 17 Belgian dairy farms were screened to evaluate the presence, sources, and nature of potentially highly heat-resistant spores in raw milk. High numbers of these spores were detected in the filter cloth of the milking equipment and in green crop and fodder samples. About 700 strains were isolated after the selective heating, of which 635 could be screened by fatty acid methyl ester analysis. Representative strains were subjected to amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, percent G+C content, and DNA-DNA reassociations for further identification. The strain collection showed a remarkable diversity, with representatives of seven aerobic spore-forming genera. Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus pallidus were the most predominant species overall. Twenty-three percent of the 603 spore-forming isolates proved to belong to 18 separate novel species. These findings suggest that the selective heating revealed a pool of unknown organisms with a higher heat-resistant character. This study showed that high spore counts can occur at the dairy farm and that feed and milking equipment can act as reservoirs or entry points for potentially highly heat-resistant spores into raw milk. Lowering this spore load by good hygienic measures could probably further reduce the contamination level of raw milk, in this way minimizing the aerobic spore-forming bacteria that could lead to spoilage of milk and dairy products. Assessment and characterization of this particular flora are of great importance to allow the dairy or food industry to adequately deal with newly arising microbiological problems.
The bacterial community composition of a linuron-degrading enrichment culture and the role of the individual strains in linuron degradation have been determined by a combination of methods, such as denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the total 16S rRNA gene pool, isolation and identification of strains, and biodegradation assays. Three strains, Variovorax sp. strain WDL1, Delftia acidovorans WDL34, and Pseudomonas sp. strain WDL5, were isolated directly from the linuron-degrading culture. In addition, subculture of this enrichment culture on potential intermediates in the degradation pathway of linuron (i.e., N,O-dimethylhydroxylamine and 3-chloroaniline) resulted in the isolation of, respectively, Hyphomicrobium sulfonivorans WDL6 and Comamonas testosteroni WDL7. Of these five strains, only Variovorax sp. strain WDL1 was able to use linuron as the sole source of C, N, and energy. WDL1 first converted linuron to 3,4-dichloroaniline (3,4-DCA), which transiently accumulated in the medium but was subsequently degraded. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a strain that degrades linuron further than the aromatic intermediates. Interestingly, the rate of linuron degradation by strain WDL1 was lower than that for the consortium, but was clearly increased when WDL1 was coinoculated with each of the other four strains. D. acidovorans WDL34 and C. testosteroni WDL7 were found to be responsible for degradation of the intermediate 3,4-DCA, and H. sulfonivorans WDL6 was the only strain able to degrade N,O-dimethylhydroxylamine. The role of Pseudomonas sp. strain WDL5 needs to be further elucidated. The degradation of linuron can thus be performed by a single isolate, Variovorax sp. strain WDL1, but is stimulated by a synergistic interaction with the other strains isolated from the same linuron-degrading culture.
We examined the diversity of the plasmids and of the gene tdnQ, involved in the oxidative deamination of aniline, in five bacterial strains that are able to metabolize both aniline and 3-chloroaniline (3-CA). Three strains have been described and identified previously, i.e., Comamonas testosteroni I2 and Delftia acidovorans CA28 and BN3.1. Strains LME1 and B8c were isolated in this study from linuron-treated soil and from a wastewater treatment plant, respectively, and were both identified as D. acidovorans. Both Delftia and Comamonas belong to the family Comamonadaceae. All five strains possess a large plasmid of ca. 100 kb, but the plasmids from only four strains could be transferred to a recipient strain by selection on aniline or 3-CA as a sole source of carbon and/or nitrogen. Plasmid transfer experiments and Southern hybridization revealed that the plasmid of strain I2 was responsible for total aniline but not 3-CA degradation, while the plasmids of strains LME1 and B8c were responsible only for the oxidative deamination of aniline. Several transconjugant clones that had received the plasmid from strain CA28 showed different degradative capacities: all transconjugants could use aniline as a nitrogen source, while only some of the transconjugants could deaminate 3-CA. For all four plasmids, the IS1071 insertion sequence of Tn5271 was found to be located on a 1.4-kb restriction fragment, which also hybridized with the tdnQ probe. This result suggests the involvement of this insertion sequence element in the dissemination of aniline degradation genes in the environment. By use of specific primers for the tdnQ gene from Pseudomonas putida UCC22, the diversity of the PCR-amplified fragments in the five strains was examined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). With DGGE, three different clusters of the tdnQ fragment could be distinguished. Sequencing data showed that the tdnQ sequences of I2, LME1, B8c, and CA28 were very closely related, while the tdnQ sequences of BN3.1 and P. putida UCC22 were only about 83% identical to the other sequences. Northern hybridization revealed that the tdnQ gene is transcribed only in the presence of aniline and not when only 3-CA is present.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) associated with gaseous spoilage of modified-atmosphere-packaged, raw, tomato-marinated broiler meat strips were identified on the basis of a restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) (ribotyping) database containing DNAs coding for 16S and 23S rRNAs (rDNAs). A mixed LAB population dominated by a Leuconostoc species resembling Leuconostoc gelidum caused the spoilage of the product. Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus curvatus, and a gram-positive rod phenotypically similar to heterofermentative Lactobacillus species were the other main organisms detected. An increase in pH together with the extreme bulging of packages suggested a rare LAB spoilage type called “protein swell.” This spoilage is characterized by excessive production of gas due to amino acid decarboxylation, and the rise in pH is attributed to the subsequent deamination of amino acids. Protein swell has not previously been associated with any kind of meat product. A polyphasic approach, including classical phenotyping, whole-cell protein electrophoresis, 16 and 23S rDNA RFLP, 16S rDNA sequence analysis, and DNA-DNA reassociation analysis, was used for the identification of the dominant Leuconostoc species. In addition to the RFLP analysis, phenotyping, whole-cell protein analysis, and 16S rDNA sequence homology indicated that L. gelidum was most similar to the spoilage-associated species. The two spoilage strains studied possessed 98.8 and 99.0% 16S rDNA sequence homology with the L. gelidum type strain. DNA-DNA reassociation, however, clearly distinguished the two species. The same strains showed only 22 and 34% hybridization with the L. gelidum type strain. These results warrant a separate species status, and we propose the name Leuconostoc gasicomitatum sp. nov. for this spoilage-associated Leuconostoc species.
Transfer of the 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) degradation plasmids pEMT1 and pJP4 from an introduced donor strain, Pseudomonas putida UWC3, to the indigenous bacteria of two different horizons (A horizon, depth of 0 to 30 cm; B horizon, depth of 30 to 60 cm) of a 2,4-D-contaminated soil was investigated as a means of bioaugmentation. When the soil was amended with nutrients, plasmid transfer and enhanced degradation of 2,4-D were observed. These findings were most striking in the B horizon, where the indigenous bacteria were unable to degrade any of the 2,4-D (100 mg/kg of soil) during at least 22 days but where inoculation with either of the two plasmid donors resulted in complete 2,4-D degradation within 14 days. In contrast, in soils not amended with nutrients, inoculation of donors in the A horizon and subsequent formation of transconjugants (105 CFU/g of soil) could not increase the 2,4-D degradation rate compared to that of the noninoculated soil. However, donor inoculation in the nonamended B-horizon soil resulted in complete degradation of 2,4-D within 19 days, while no degradation at all was observed in noninoculated soil during 89 days. With plasmid pEMT1, this enhanced degradation seemed to be due only to transconjugants (105 CFU/g of soil), since the donor was already undetectable when degradation started. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA genes showed that inoculation of the donors was followed by a shift in the microbial community structure of the nonamended B-horizon soils. The new 16S rRNA gene fragments in the DGGE profile corresponded with the 16S rRNA genes of 2,4-D-degrading transconjugant colonies isolated on agar plates. This result indicates that the observed change in the community was due to proliferation of transconjugants formed in soil. Overall, this work clearly demonstrates that bioaugmentation can constitute an effective strategy for cleanup of soils which are poor in nutrients and microbial activity, such as those of the B horizon.
A strain identified as Comamonas testosteroni I2 was isolated from activated sludge and found to be able to mineralize 3-chloroaniline (3-CA). During the mineralization, a yellow intermediate accumulated temporarily, due to the distal meta-cleavage of chlorocatechol. This strain was tested for its ability to clean wastewater containing 3-CA upon inoculation into activated sludge. To monitor its survival, the strain was chromosomally marked with the gfp gene and designated I2gfp. After inoculation into a lab-scale semicontinuous activated-sludge (SCAS) system, the inoculated strain maintained itself in the sludge for at least 45 days and was present in the sludge flocs. After an initial adaptation period of 6 days, complete degradation of 3-CA was obtained during 2 weeks, while no degradation at all occurred in the noninoculated control reactor. Upon further operation of the SCAS system, only 50% 3-CA removal was observed. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of 16S rRNA genes revealed a dynamic change in the microbial community structure of the activated sludge. The DGGE patterns of the noninoculated and the inoculated reactors evolved after 7 days to different clusters, which suggests an effect of strain inoculation on the microbial community structure. The results indicate that bioaugmentation, even with a strain originating from that ecosystem and able to effectively grow on a selective substrate, is not permanent and will probably require regular resupplementation.