Apart from being applied as an energy carrier, hydrogen is in increasing demand as a commodity. Currently, the majority of hydrogen (H2) is produced from fossil fuels, but from an environmental perspective, sustainable H2 production should be considered. One of the possible ways of hydrogen production is through fermentation, in particular, at elevated temperature, i.e. thermophilic biohydrogen production. This short review recapitulates the current status in thermophilic biohydrogen production through fermentation of commercially viable substrates produced from readily available renewable resources, such as agricultural residues. The route to commercially viable biohydrogen production is a multidisciplinary enterprise. Microbiological studies have pointed out certain desirable physiological characteristics in H2-producing microorganisms. More process-oriented research has identified best applicable reactor types and cultivation conditions. Techno-economic and life cycle analyses have identified key process bottlenecks with respect to economic feasibility and its environmental impact. The review has further identified current limitations and gaps in the knowledge, and also deliberates directions for future research and development of thermophilic biohydrogen production.
Thermophilic; Biohydrogen; Agricultural residues; Techno-economic analysis; LCA
Carboxylic acids are an attractive biorenewable chemical. However, like many other fermentatively produced compounds, they are inhibitory to the biocatalyst. An understanding of the mechanism of toxicity can aid in mitigating this problem. Here, we show that hexanoic and octanoic acids are completely inhibitory to Escherichia coli MG1655 in minimal medium at a concentration of 40 mM, while decanoic acid was inhibitory at 20 mM. This growth inhibition is pH-dependent and is accompanied by a significant change in the fluorescence polarization (fluidity) and integrity. This inhibition and sensitivity to membrane fluidization, but not to damage of membrane integrity, can be at least partially mitigated during short-term adaptation to octanoic acid. This short-term adaptation was accompanied by a change in membrane lipid composition and a decrease in cell surface hydrophobicity. Specifically, the saturated/unsaturated lipid ratio decreased and the average lipid length increased. A fatty acid-producing strain exhibited an increase in membrane leakage as the product titer increased, but no change in membrane fluidity. These results highlight the importance of the cell membrane as a target for future metabolic engineering efforts for enabling resistance and tolerance of desirable biorenewable compounds, such as carboxylic acids. Knowledge of these effects can help in the engineering of robust biocatalysts for biorenewable chemicals production.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-013-5113-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Membrane lipids; Escherichia coli; Bacterial inhibition; Short chain fatty acids; Membrane fluidity; Tolerance
A wide range of techniques, including highthroughput DNA sequencing methods, have been applied to the evaluation of the normal intestinal flora. However, the inability to grow many of those species in culture imposes substantial constraints on the techniques used to evaluate this important community. The presence of biofilms in the normal gut adds further complexity to the issue. In this study, a flow cytometric analysis was used to separate intact bacterial cells, cell debris, and other particulate matter based on bacteria-specific staining and particle size. In addition, an analysis of biofilm formation using fluorescent light microscopy was conducted. Using these approaches, the ratio of bacterial cell debris to intact bacterial cells as a measure of spontaneous lysis of bacterial cells in the gut of the Cape dune mole-rat (Bathyergus suillus) and the laboratory rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was examined, and the degree of biofilm formation was semi-quantitatively assessed. The results suggest that the degree of spontaneous cell lysis was greater in the appendix than in the cecum in both the mole-rat and the rabbit. Further, the results point toward extensive epithelial-associated biofilm formation in the proximal mole-rat and rabbit large bowel, although the biofilms may be less structured than those found in laboratory rodents and in humans.
Biofilm; Cecal appendix; Flow cytometry; Mole-rat; Rabbit; Spontaneous lysis
The release of acetic acid due to deacetylation of the hemicellulose fraction during the treatment of lignocellulosic biomass contributes to the inhibitory character of the generated hydrolysates. In the present study, we identified a strain-independent adaptation protocol consisting of pre-cultivating the strain at pH 5.0 in the presence of at least 4 g L−1 acetic acid that enabled aerobic growth and improved fermentation performance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells at low pH (3.7) and in the presence of inhibitory levels of acetic acid (6 g L−1). During anaerobic cultivation with adapted cells of strain TMB3500, the specific ethanol production rate was increased, reducing the fermentation time to 48 %.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Acetic acid; pH; Short-term adaptation
Suspension cultures of the endemic South-African plant Cyclopia subternata were established for the first time and evaluated for the presence of isoflavones. The influence of light, as well as medium supplementation strategies with phenylalanine, casein hydrolysate and coconut water on biomass growth and isoflavone production were examined. The highest levels of 7-O-β-glucosides of calycosin, pseudobaptigenin and formononetin (275.57, 125.37 and 147.28 mg/100 g DW, respectively) were recorded for cultures grown in the absence of light, whereas coconut water substantially promoted biomass growth. Cell suspensions were subsequently grown in the 2-l stirred-tank bioreactor. Maximum productivity of 7-O-β-glucosides of calycosin, pseudobaptigenin and formononetin (0.96, 0.44 and 0.22 mg l−1 day−1, respectively) in bioreactor-cultivated cells was obtained for biomass grown in the dark and supplemented with coconut water. The results indicate that C. subternata suspension cultures can be utilised for the production of the specified isoflavone derivatives absent in the intact plant.
Cyclopia subternata; Cell suspension cultures; Isoflavones; Stirred-tank bioreactor; Upstream processing
With their ability to lyse Gram-positive bacteria, phage lytic enzymes (or lysins) have received a great deal of attention as novel anti-infective agents. The number of known genes encoding these peptidoglycan hydrolases has increased markedly in recent years, due in large part to advances in DNA sequencing technology. As the genomes of more and more bacterial species/strains are sequenced, lysin-encoding open reading frames (ORFs) can be readily identified in lysogenized prophage regions. In the current study, we sought to assess lysin diversity for the medically relevant pathogen Clostridium perfringens. The sequenced genomes of nine C. perfringens strains were computationally mined for prophage lysins and lysin-like ORFs, revealing several dozen proteins of various enzymatic classes. Of these lysins, a muramidase from strain ATCC 13124 (termed PlyCM) was chosen for recombinant analysis based on its dissimilarity to previously characterized C. perfringens lysins. Following expression and purification, various biochemical properties of PlyCM were determined in vitro, including pH/salt-dependence and temperature stability. The enzyme exhibited activity at low µg/ml concentrations, a typical value for phage lysins. It was active against 23 of 24 strains of C. perfringens tested, with virtually no activity against other clostridial or nonclostridial species. Overall, PlyCM shows potential for development as an enzybiotic agent, demonstrating how expanding genomic databases can serve as rich pools for biotechnologically relevant proteins.
Lysin; Prophage; Enzybiotic; Muramidase; Clostridium perfringens
Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a marine diatom in the class Bacillariophyceae and is important ecologically and industrially with regards to ocean primary production and lipid accumulation for biofuel production, respectively. Triacylglyceride (TAG) accumulation has been reported in P. tricornutum under different nutrient stresses, and our results show that lipid accumulation can occur with nitrate or phosphate depletion. However, greater lipid accumulation was observed when both nutrients were depleted as observed using a Nile Red assay and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles. Nitrate depletion had a greater effect on lipid accumulation than phosphate depletion. Lipid accumulation in P. tricornutum was arrested upon resupplementation with the depleted nutrient. Cells depleted of nitrogen showed a distinct shift from a lipid accumulation mode to cellular growth post-resupplementation with nitrate, as observed through increased cell numbers and consumption of accumulated lipid. Phosphate depletion caused lipid accumulation that was arrested upon phosphate resupplementation. The cessation of lipid accumulation was followed by lipid consumption without an increase in cell numbers. Cells depleted in both nitrate and phosphate displayed cell growth upon the addition of both nitrate and phosphate and had the largest observed lipid consumption upon resupplementation. These results indicate that phosphate resupplementation can shut down lipid accumulation but does not cause cells to shift into cellular growth, unlike nitrate resupplementation. These data suggest that nutrient resupplementation will arrest lipid accumulation and that switching between cellular growth and lipid accumulation can be regulated upon the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-013-5010-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Algae; Diatom; Lipid; Biofuel; Nitrate; Phosphate
Bacterial surface (S) layers are the outermost proteinaceous cell envelope structures found on members of nearly all taxonomic groups of bacteria and Archaea. They are composed of numerous identical subunits forming a symmetric, porous, lattice-like layer that completely covers the cell surface. The subunits are held together and attached to cell wall carbohydrates by non-covalent interactions, and they spontaneously reassemble in vitro by an entropy-driven process. Due to the low amino acid sequence similarity among S-layer proteins in general, verification of the presence of an S-layer on the bacterial cell surface usually requires electron microscopy. In lactobacilli, S-layer proteins have been detected on many but not all species. Lactobacillus S-layer proteins differ from those of other bacteria in their smaller size and high predicted pI. The positive charge in Lactobacillus S-layer proteins is concentrated in the more conserved cell wall binding domain, which can be either N- or C-terminal depending on the species. The more variable domain is responsible for the self-assembly of the monomers to a periodic structure. The biological functions of Lactobacillus S-layer proteins are poorly understood, but in some species S-layer proteins mediate bacterial adherence to host cells or extracellular matrix proteins or have protective or enzymatic functions. Lactobacillus S-layer proteins show potential for use as antigen carriers in live oral vaccine design because of their adhesive and immunomodulatory properties and the general non-pathogenicity of the species.
Surface layer protein; S-layer protein; Lactobacillus; Adhesion
Undesirable butter-tasting vicinal diketones are produced as by-products of valine and isoleucine biosynthesis during wort fermentation. One promising method of decreasing diacetyl production is through control of wort valine content since valine is involved in feedback inhibition of enzymes controlling the formation of diacetyl precursors. Here, the influence of valine supplementation, wort amino acid profile and free amino nitrogen content on diacetyl formation during wort fermentation with the lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus was investigated. Valine supplementation (100 to 300 mg L−1) resulted in decreased maximum diacetyl concentrations (up to 37 % lower) and diacetyl concentrations at the end of fermentation (up to 33 % lower) in all trials. Composition of the amino acid spectrum of the wort also had an impact on diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione production during fermentation. No direct correlation between the wort amino acid concentrations and diacetyl production was found, but rather a negative correlation between the uptake rate of valine (and also other branched-chain amino acids) and diacetyl production. Fermentation performance and yeast growth were unaffected by supplementations. Amino acid addition had a minor effect on higher alcohol and ester composition, suggesting that high levels of supplementation could affect the flavour profile of the beer. Modifying amino acid profile of wort, especially with respect to valine and the other branched-chain amino acids, may be an effective way of decreasing the amount of diacetyl formed during fermentation.
Diacetyl; Valine; Amino acid; Beer; Lager; Fermentation
The Bacteriophage λ capsid protein gpD has been used extensively for fusion polypeptides that can be expressed from plasmids in Escherichia coli and remain soluble. In this study, a genetically controlled dual expression system for the display of enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) was developed and characterized. Wild-type D protein (gpD) expression is encoded by λ Dam15 infecting phage particles, which can only produce a functional gpD protein when translated in amber suppressor strains of E. coli in the absence of complementing gpD from a plasmid. However, the isogenic suppressors vary dramatically in their ability to restore functional packaging to λDam15, imparting the first dimension of decorative control. In combination, the D-fusion protein, gpD::eGFP, was supplied in trans from a multicopy temperature-inducible expression plasmid, influencing D::eGFP expression and hence the availability of gpD::eGFP to complement for the Dam15 mutation and decorate viable phage progeny. Despite being the worst suppressor, maximal incorporation of gpD::eGFP into the λDam15 phage capsid was imparted by the SupD strain, conferring a gpDQ68S substitution, induced for plasmid expression of pD::eGFP. Differences in size, fluorescence and absolute protein decoration between phage preparations could be achieved by varying the temperature of and the suppressor host carrying the pD::eGFP plasmid. The effective preparation with these two variables provides a simple means by which to manage fusion decoration on the surface of phage λ.
Phage display; Bacteriophage λ; Flow cytometry; Characterization; Visualization; eGFP
The metalloprotease activity of lethal factor (LF) from Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) is a main source of toxicity in the lethality of anthrax infection. Thus, the understanding of the enzymic activity and inhibition of B. anthracis LF is of scientific and clinical interests. We have designed, synthesized and studied a peptide inhibitor of LF, R9LF-1, with the structure NH2-(D-Arg)9-Val-Leu-Arg-CO-NHOH in which the C-terminal hydroxamic acid is commonly used in the inhibitors of metalloproteases to chelate the active-site Zinc. This inhibitor was shown to be very stable in solution and effectively inhibited LF in kinetic assays. However, its protection on murine macrophages against lethal toxin (LT) lysis activity was relatively week in longer assays. We further observed that the hydroxamic acid group in R9LF-1 was hydrolyzed by LF and the hydrolytic product of this inhibitor is considerably weaker in inhibition of potency. To resist this unique hydrolytic activity of LF, we further designed a new inhibitor R9LF-2 which contained the same structure as R9LF-1 except replacing the hydroxamic acid group with N, O-dimethyl hydroxamic acid, -N(CH3)-O-CH3, (DMHA). R9LF-2 was not hydrolyzed by LF in long term incubation. It has a high inhibitory potency vs. LF with a Ki of 6.4 nM and had a better protection of macrophages against LF toxicity than R9LF-1. These results suggest that in the development of new LF inhibitors, the stability of the chelating group should be carefully examined and that DMHA is a potentially useful moiety to be used in new LF inhibitors.
anthrax; lethal toxin; inhibitor; hydroxamate; metalloprotease
Sialic acids are a family of negatively charged monosaccharides which are commonly presented as the terminal residues in glycans of the glycoconjugates on eukaryotic cell surface or as components of capsular polysaccharides or lipooligosaccharides of some pathogenic bacteria. Due to their important biological and pathological functions, the biosynthesis, activation, transfer, breaking down, and recycle of sialic acids are attracting increasing attention. The understanding of the sialic acid metabolism in eukaryotes and bacteria leads to the development of metabolic engineering approaches for elucidating the important functions of sialic acid in mammalian systems and for large-scale production of sialosides using engineered bacterial cells. As the key enzymes in biosynthesis of sialylated structures, sialyltransferases have been continuously identified from various sources and characterized. Protein crystal structures of seven sialyltransferases have been reported. Wild-type sialyltransferases and their mutants have been applied with or without other sialoside biosynthetic enzymes for producing complex sialic acid-containing oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates. This mini-review focuses on current understanding and applications of sialic acid metabolism and sialyltransferases.
carbohydrate; metabolism; sialic acid; sialoside; sialyltransferase
Headspace analyses over microbial cultures using multi-capillary column-ion mobility spectrometry (MCC-IMS) could lead to a faster, safe and cost-effective method for the identification of pathogens. Recent studies have shown that MCC-IMS allows identification of bacteria and fungi, but no information is available from when on during their growth a differentiation between bacteria is possible. Therefore, we analysed the headspace over human pathogenic reference strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa at four time points during their growth in a complex fluid medium. In order to validate our findings and to answer the question if the results of one bacterial strain can be transferred to other strains of the same species, we also analysed the headspace over cultures from isolates of random clinical origin. We detected 19 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that appeared or changed their signal intensity during bacterial growth. These included six VOCs exclusively changing over E. coli cultures and seven exclusively changing over P. aeruginosa cultures. Most changes occurred in the late logarithmic or static growth phases. We did not find differences in timing or trends in signal intensity between VOC patterns of different strains of one species. Our results show that differentiation of human pathogenic bacteria by headspace analyses using MCC-IMS technology is best possible during the late phases of bacterial growth. Our findings also show that VOC patterns of a bacterial strain can be transferred to other strains of the same species.
Escherichia coli; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Bacteria; Identification; Headspace analyses
The number of studies dedicated to evaluating the influence of biosurfactants on bioremediation efficiency is constantly growing. Although significant progress regarding the explanation of mechanisms behind biosurfactant-induced effects could be observed, there are still many factors which are not sufficiently elucidated. This corresponds to the fact that although positive influence of biosurfactants is often reported, there are also numerous cases where no or negative effect was observed. This review summarizes the recent finding in the field of biosurfactant-amended bioremediation, focusing mainly on a critical approach towards potential limitations and causes of failure while investigating the effects of biosurfactants on the efficiency of biodegradation and phytoextraction processes. It also provides a summary of successive steps, which should be taken into consideration when designing biosurfactant-related treatment processes.
Bioaugmentation; Biodegradation; Bioremediation; Biosurfactants; Phytoextraction
The Saccharopolyspora erythraea mutB knockout strain, FL2281, having a block in the methylmalonyl-CoA mutase reaction, was found to carry a diethyl methylmalonate-responsive (Dmr) phenotype in an oil-based fermentation medium. The Dmr phenotype confers the ability to increase erythromycin A (erythromycin) production from 250 – 300% when the oil-based medium is supplemented with 15 mM levels of this solvent. Lower concentrations of the solvent stimulated proportionately less erythromycin production, while higher concentrations had no additional benefit. Although the mutB strain is phenotypically a low-level erythromycin producer, diethyl methylmalonate supplementation allowed it to produce up to 30% more erythromycin than the wild type (control) strain--a strain that does not show the Dmr phenotype. The Dmr phenotype represents a new class of strain improvement phenotype. A theory to explain the biochemical mechanism for the Dmr phenotype is proposed. Other phenotypes found to be associated with the mutB knockout were a growth defect and hyper-pigmentation, both of which were restored to normal by exposure to diethyl methylmalonate. Furthermore, mutB fermentations did not significantly metabolize soybean oil in the presence of diethyl methylmalonate. Finally, a novel method is proposed for the isolation of additional mutants with the Dmr phenotype.
Diethyl methylmalonate; erythromycin; mutB; methylmalonyl-CoA mutase; Dmr; Saccharopolyspora erythraea
Biofilms cause much of all human microbial infections. Attempts to eradicate biofilm-based infections rely on disinfectants and antibiotics. Unfortunately, biofilm bacteria are significantly less responsive to antibiotic stressors than their planktonic counterparts. Sublethal doses of antibiotics can actually enhance biofilm formation. Here, we have developed a non-invasive microscopic image analyses to quantify plasmid conjugation within a developing biofilm. Corroborating destructive samples were analyzed by a cultivation-independent flow cytometry analysis and a selective plate count method to cultivate transconjugants. Increases in substrate loading altered biofilm 3-D architecture and subsequently affected the frequency of plasmid conjugation (decreases at least two times) in the absence of any antibiotic selective pressure. More importantly, donor populations in biofilms exposed to a sublethal dose of kanamycin exhibited enhanced transfer efficiency of plasmids containing the kanamycin resistance gene, up to tenfold. However, when stressed with a different antibiotic, imipenem, transfer of plasmids containing the kanR+ gene was not enhanced. These preliminary results suggest biofilm bacteria “sense” antibiotics to which they are resistant, which enhances the spread of that resistance. Confocal scanning microscopy coupled with our non-invasive image analysis was able to estimate plasmid conjugative transfer efficiency either averaged over the entire biofilm landscape or locally with individual biofilm clusters.
Biofilm plasmid transfer; Non-invasive biofilm diagnostics; Antibiotic selection pressure; Confocal microscopy
Agricultural productivity to meet growing demands of human population is a matter of great concern for all countries. Use of green compounds to achieve the sustainable agriculture is the present necessity. This review highlights the enormous use of harsh surfactants in agricultural soil and agrochemical industries. Biosurfactants which are reported to be produced by bacteria, yeasts, and fungi can serve as green surfactants. Biosurfactants are considered to be less toxic and eco-friendly and thus several types of biosurfactants have the potential to be commercially produced for extensive applications in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries. The biosurfactants synthesized by environmental isolates also has promising role in the agricultural industry. Many rhizosphere and plant associated microbes produce biosurfactant; these biomolecules play vital role in motility, signaling, and biofilm formation, indicating that biosurfactant governs plant–microbe interaction. In agriculture, biosurfactants can be used for plant pathogen elimination and for increasing the bioavailability of nutrient for beneficial plant associated microbes. Biosurfactants can widely be applied for improving the agricultural soil quality by soil remediation. These biomolecules can replace the harsh surfactant presently being used in million dollar pesticide industries. Thus, exploring biosurfactants from environmental isolates for investigating their potential role in plant growth promotion and other related agricultural applications warrants details research. Conventional methods are followed for screening the microbial population for production of biosurfactant. However, molecular methods are fewer in reaching biosurfactants from diverse microbial population and there is need to explore novel biosurfactant from uncultured microbes in soil biosphere by using advanced methodologies like functional metagenomics.
Biosurfactants; Sustainable agriculture; Pesticide; Plant pathogen; Remediation; Metagenomics
Anticoagulant heparin has been shown to possess important biological functions that vary according to its fine structure. Variability within heparin's structure occurs owing to its biosynthesis and animal tissue-based recovery, and adds another dimension to its complex polymeric structure. The structural variations in chain length and sulfation patterns mediate its interaction with many heparin-binding proteins, thereby, eliciting complex biological responses. The advent of novel chemical and enzymatic approaches for polysaccharide synthesis coupled with high throughput combinatorial approaches for drug discovery have facilitated an increased effort to understand heparin's structure-activity relationships. An improved understanding would offer potential for new therapeutic development through the engineering of polysaccharides. Such a bioengineering approach requires the amalgamation of several different disciplines including carbohydrate synthesis, applied enzymology, metabolic engineering, and process biochemistry.
bioengineered heparin; applied enzymology; biosynthesis; chemical synthesis; chemoenzymatic synthesis; metabolic engineering
Staphylococcus aureus strain CH-91, isolated from a broiler chicken with atopic dermatitis, has a highly proteolytic phenotype that is correlated with the disease. We describe the isolation and biochemical and molecular characterization of the AI-type lantibiotic BacCH91 from S. aureus CH-91 culture medium. The bacteriocin was purified using a three-stage procedure comprising precipitation with ammonium sulfate, extraction with organic solvents, and reversed-phase HPLC. The BacCH91 peptide is thermostable and highly resistant to cleavage by both prokaryotic and eukaryotic peptidases. The MIC for the Gram-positive bacteria ranged from 2.5 nM for Microococcus luteus through 1.3–6.0 μM for staphylococcal strains up to more than 100 μM for Lactococcus lactis. BacCH91 was ineffective against the Gram-negative strains tested at the maximal concentration (100 μM). The amino acid sequence of BacCH91 is similar to that of epidermin and gallidermin. The encoding gene (bacCH91) occurred in two allelic variants distinguishable in the restriction fragment length polymorphism assay. Variant I, identified in S. aureus CH-91, dominated in S. aureus strains of poultry origin, although strains with variant II were also identified in this group. S. aureus strains of human origin were characterized exclusively by variant II.
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The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-012-4578-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Allelic variant; Bacteriocin; Lantibiotic; Staphylococcus aureus; Pathogen; StpC cysteine peptidase
The process of protein crosslinking comprises the chemical, enzymatic, or chemoenzymatic formation of new covalent bonds between polypeptides. This allows (1) the site-directed coupling of proteins with distinct properties and (2) the de novo assembly of polymeric protein networks. Transferases, hydrolases, and oxidoreductases can be employed as catalysts for the synthesis of crosslinked proteins, thereby complementing chemical crosslinking strategies. Here, we review enzymatic approaches that are used for protein crosslinking at the industrial level or have shown promising potential in investigations on the lab-scale. We illustrate the underlying mechanisms of crosslink formation and point out the roles of the enzymes in their natural environments. Additionally, we discuss advantages and drawbacks of the enzyme-based crosslinking strategies and their potential for different applications.
Cross-linking; Conjugation; Ligation; Fusion proteins; Transglutaminase; Sortase A
This article reviews and updates data on macro and trace elements and radionuclides in edible wild-grown and cultivated mushrooms. A huge biodiversity of mushrooms and spread of certain species over different continents makes the study on their multi-element constituents highly challenging. A few edible mushrooms are widely cultivated and efforts are on to employ them (largely Agaricus spp., Pleurotus spp., and Lentinula edodes) in the production of selenium-enriched food (mushrooms) or nutraceuticals (by using mycelia) and less on species used by traditional medicine, e.g., Ganoderma lucidum. There are also attempts to enrich mushrooms with other elements than Se and a good example is enrichment with lithium. Since minerals of nutritional value are common constituents of mushrooms collected from natural habitats, the problem is however their co-occurrence with some hazardous elements including Cd, Pb, Hg, Ag, As, and radionuclides. Discussed is also the problem of erroneous data on mineral compounds determined in mushrooms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-012-4552-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Environment; Food; Fungi; Organic food; Se bioenrichment; Wild food
Genome sequencing of Streptomyces, myxobacteria, and fungi showed that although each strain contains genes that encode the enzymes to synthesize a plethora of potential secondary metabolites, only a fraction are expressed during fermentation. Interest has therefore grown in the activation of these cryptic pathways. We review current progress on this topic, describing concepts for activating silent genes, utilization of “natural” mutant-type RNA polymerases and rare earth elements, and the applicability of ribosome engineering to myxobacteria and fungi, the microbial groups known as excellent searching sources, as well as actinomycetes, for secondary metabolites.
Silent gene activation; Strain improvement; Ribosome engineering; Rare earth elements
The successful conversion of plant production systems from conventional resource-exhausting to sustainable strategies depends on knowledge-based management of environmental factors. Root-inhabiting fungi came more and more into focus because their hyphae connect in ideal manner resources and challenges of the surrounding with the plant. A paradigm for such root endophytes is presented by the basidiomycete Piriformospora indica. This fungus possesses a broad host spectrum and positively affects different aspects of plant performance. This so far unique combination of attributes makes P. indica and its close relatives among the Sebacinales very interesting tools for cultivation of various crops. This review will outline the different aspects required to apply this root endophyte in agri- and horticulture concerning plant growth, plant nutrition and plant defence or tolerance thereby explaining what is known about the biological basis for the observed effects. Open questions and challenges for successful inoculum production and application will be discussed.
Abiotic stress tolerance; Induced resistance; Inoculum formulation; Piriformospora indica; Plant growth promotion; Sebacinales
Mangrove wetlands are an important ecosystem in tropical and subtropical regions, and the sediments may contain both oxic and anoxic zones. In this study, ammonia/ammonium-oxidizing prokaryotes (AOPs) in yellow and black sediments with vegetation and non-vegetated sediments in a mangrove wetland of subtropical Hong Kong were investigated in winter and summer. The phylogenetic diversity of anammox bacterial 16S rRNA genes and archaeal and bacterial amoA genes (encoding ammonia monooxygenase alpha-subunit) were analyzed using PCR amplification and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis to reveal their community structures. Quantitative PCR was also used to detect their gene abundances. The results showed that seasonality had little effect, but sediment type had a noticeable influence on the community structures and abundances of anammox bacteria. For ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), seasonality had a small effect on their community structures, but a significant effect on their abundances: AOA amoA genes were significantly higher in winter than in summer. In winter, the vegetated yellow sediments had lower AOA amoA genes than the other types of sediments, but in summer, the vegetated yellow sediments had higher AOA amoA genes than the other types of sediments. Sediment type had no apparent effect on AOA community structures in winter. In summer, however, the vegetated yellow sediments showed obviously different AOA community structures from the other types of sediments. For ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), seasonality had a significant effect on their community structures and abundances: AOB amoA genes in winter were apparently higher than in summer, and AOB community structures were different between winter and summer. Sediment type had little effect on AOB community structures, but had a noticeable effect on the abundances: AOB amoA genes of the vegetated yellow sediments were obviously lower than the black ones in both seasons. This study has demonstrated that seasonality and sediment type affected community structures and abundances of AOPs differently in oxic and anoxic sediments of the mangrove wetland.
Anammox bacteria; AOA; AOB; AmoA; Mangrove; Sediment type; Seasonal dynamics