Over the last 60 years, the use of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) as a pesticide has resulted in the production of >4 million tons of HCH waste, which has been dumped in open sinks across the globe. Here, the combination of the genomes of two genetic subspecies (Sphingobium japonicum UT26 and Sphingobium indicum B90A; isolated from two discrete geographical locations, Japan and India, respectively) capable of degrading HCH, with metagenomic data from an HCH dumpsite (∼450 mg HCH per g soil), enabled the reconstruction and validation of the last-common ancestor (LCA) genotype. Mapping the LCA genotype (3128 genes) to the subspecies genomes demonstrated that >20% of the genes in each subspecies were absent in the LCA. This includes two enzymes from the ‘upper' HCH degradation pathway, suggesting that the ancestor was unable to degrade HCH isomers, but descendants acquired lin genes by transposon-mediated lateral gene transfer. In addition, anthranilate and homogentisate degradation traits were found to be strain (selectively retained only by UT26) and environment (absent in the LCA and subspecies, but prevalent in the metagenome) specific, respectively. One draft secondary chromosome, two near complete plasmids and eight complete lin transposons were assembled from the metagenomic DNA. Collectively, these results reinforce the elastic nature of the genus Sphingobium, and describe the evolutionary acquisition mechanism of a xenobiotic degradation phenotype in response to environmental pollution. This also demonstrates for the first time the use of metagenomic data in ancestral genotype reconstruction, highlighting its potential to provide significant insight into the development of such phenotypes.
hexachlorocyclohexane; metagenome; pan-genome; last-common ancestor
Recent evidence suggests that a lower extent of the retronasal aroma release correspond to a higher amount of ad libitum food intake. This has been regarded as one of the bases of behavioral choices towards food consumption in obese people. In this pilot study we investigated the hypothesis that saliva from obese individuals could be responsible for an alteration of the retro-nasal aroma release. We tested this hypothesis in vitro, by comparing the release of volatiles from a liquid food matrix (wine) after its interaction with saliva from 28 obese (O) and 28 normal-weight (N) individuals.
Methods and Findings
Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA V4 region indicated that Firmicutes and Actinobacteria were more abundant in O, while Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria dominated in N. Streptococcaceae were significantly more abundant in the O subjects and constituted 34% and 19% on average of the saliva microbiota of O and N subjects, respectively. The Total Antioxidant Capacity was higher in O vs N saliva samples. A model mouth system was used to test whether the in-mouth wine aroma release differs after the interaction with O or N saliva. In O samples, a 18% to 60% significant decrease in the mean concentration of wine volatiles was detected as a result of interaction with saliva, compared with N. This suppression was linked to biochemical differences in O and N saliva composition, which include protein content.
Microbiological and biochemical differences were found in O vs N saliva samples. An impaired retronasal aroma release from white wine was detected in vitro and linked to compositional differences between saliva from obese and normal-weight subjects. Additional in vivo investigations on diverse food matrices could contribute to understanding whether a lower olfactory stimulation due to saliva composition can be a co-factor in the development/maintenance of obesity.
After birth, mammals acquire a community of bacteria in their gastro-intestinal tract, which harvests energy and provides nutrients for the host. Comparative studies of numerous terrestrial mammal hosts have identified host phylogeny, diet and gut morphology as primary drivers of the gut bacterial community composition. To date, marine mammals have been excluded from these comparative studies, yet they represent distinct examples of evolutionary history, diet and lifestyle traits. To provide an updated understanding of the gut bacterial community of mammals, we compared bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequence data generated from faecal material of 151 marine and terrestrial mammal hosts. This included 42 hosts from a marine habitat. When compared to terrestrial mammals, marine mammals clustered separately and displayed a significantly greater average relative abundance of the phylum Fusobacteria. The marine carnivores (Antarctic and Arctic seals) and the marine herbivore (dugong) possessed significantly richer gut bacterial community than terrestrial carnivores and terrestrial herbivores, respectively. This suggests that evolutionary history and dietary items specific to the marine environment may have resulted in a gut bacterial community distinct to that identified in terrestrial mammals. Finally we hypothesize that reduced marine trophic webs, whereby marine carnivores (and herbivores) feed directly on lower trophic levels, may expose this group to high levels of secondary metabolites and influence gut microbial community richness.
Droughts are among the most important disturbance events for stream ecosystems; they not only affect stream hydrology but also the stream biota. Although desiccation of streams is common in Mediterranean regions, phases of dryness in headwaters have been observed more often and for longer periods in extended temperate regions, including Central Europe, reflecting global climate change and enhanced water withdrawal. The effects of desiccation and rewetting on the bacterial community composition and extracellular enzyme activity, a key process in the carbon flow of streams and rivers, were investigated in a typical Central European stream, the Breitenbach (Hesse, Germany). Wet streambed sediment is an important habitat in streams. It was sampled and exposed in the laboratory to different drying scenarios (fast, intermediate, slow) for 13 weeks, followed by rewetting of the sediment from the fast drying scenario via a sediment core perfusion technique for 2 weeks. Bacterial community structure was analyzed using CARD-FISH and TGGE, and extracellular enzyme activity was assessed using fluorogenic model substrates. During desiccation the bacterial community composition shifted toward composition in soil, exhibiting increasing proportions of Actinobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria and decreasing proportions of Bacteroidetes and Betaproteobacteria. Simultaneously the activities of extracellular enzymes decreased, most pronounced with aminopeptidases and less pronounced with enzymes involved in the degradation of polymeric carbohydrates. After rewetting, the general ecosystem functioning, with respect to extracellular enzyme activity, recovered after 10 to 14 days. However, the bacterial community composition had not yet achieved its original composition as in unaffected sediments within this time. Thus, whether the bacterial community eventually recovers completely after these events remains unknown. Perhaps this community undergoes permanent changes, especially after harsh desiccation, followed by loss of the specialized functions of specific groups of bacteria.
The Kingdom Fungi adds substantially to the diversity of life, but due to their cryptic morphology and lifestyle, tremendous diversity, paucity of formally described specimens, and the difficulty in isolating environmental strains into culture, fungal communities are difficult to characterize. This is especially true for endophytic communities of fungi living in healthy plant tissue. The developments in next generation sequencing technologies are, however, starting to reveal the true extent of fungal diversity. One of the promising new technologies, namely semiconductor sequencing, has thus far not been used in fungal diversity assessments. In this study we sequenced the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) nuclear encoded ribosomal RNA of the endophytic community of the economically important tree, Eucalyptus grandis, from South Africa using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM). We determined the impact of various analysis parameters on the interpretation of the results, namely different sequence quality parameter settings, different sequence similarity cutoffs for clustering and filtering of databases for removal of sequences with incomplete taxonomy. Sequence similarity cutoff values only had a marginal effect on the identified family numbers, whereas different sequence quality filters had a large effect (89 vs. 48 families between least and most stringent filters). Database filtering had a small, but statistically significant, effect on the assignment of sequences to reference sequences. The community was dominated by Ascomycota, and particularly by families in the Dothidiomycetes that harbor well-known plant pathogens. The study demonstrates that semiconductor sequencing is an ideal strategy for environmental sequencing of fungal communities. It also highlights some potential pitfalls in subsequent data analyses when using a technology with relatively short read lengths.
Methanogenic archaea produce methane as a metabolic product under anoxic conditions and they play a crucial role in the global methane cycle. In this study molecular diversity of methanogenic archaea in the hyporheic sediment of the lowland stream Sitka (Olomouc, Czech Republic) was analyzed by PCR amplification, cloning and sequencing analysis of the methyl coenzyme M reductase alpha subunit (mcrA) gene. Sequencing analysis of 60 clones revealed 24 different mcrA phylotypes from hyporheic sedimentary layers to a depth of 50 cm. Phylotypes were affiliated with Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales and Methanobacteriales orders. Only one phylotype remains unclassified. The majority of the phylotypes showed higher affiliation with uncultured methanogens than with known methanogenic species. The presence of relatively rich assemblage of methanogenic archaea confirmed that methanogens may be an important component of hyporheic microbial communities and may affect CH4 cycling in rivers.
The dissimilatory metal reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1, known for its capacity of reducing iron and manganese oxides, has great environmental impacts. The iron oxides reducing process is affected by the coexistence of alternative electron acceptors in the environment, while investigation into it is limited so far. In this work, the impact of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), a ubiquitous chemical in marine environment, on the reduction of hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) by S. oneidensis MR-1 was investigated. Results show that DMSO promoted HFO reduction by both wild type and ΔdmsE, but had no effect on the HFO reduction by ΔdmsB, indicating that such a promotion was dependent on the DMSO respiration. With the DMSO dosing, the levels of extracellular flavins and omcA expression were significantly increased in WT and further increased in ΔdmsE. Bioelectrochemical analysis show that DMSO also promoted the extracellular electron transfer of WT and ΔdmsE. These results demonstrate that DMSO could stimulate the HFO reduction through metabolic and genetic regulation in S. oneidensis MR-1, rather than compete for electrons with HFO. This may provide a potential respiratory pathway to enhance the microbial electron flows for environmental and engineering applications.
The phyllosphere of plants is inhabited by diverse microorganisms, however, the factors shaping their community composition are not fully elucidated. The plant cuticle represents the initial contact surface between microorganisms and the plant. We thus aimed to investigate whether mutations in the cuticular wax biosynthesis would affect the diversity of the phyllosphere microbiota. A set of four Arabidopsis thaliana eceriferum mutants (cer1, cer6, cer9, cer16) and their respective wild type (Landsberg erecta) were subjected to an outdoor growth period and analysed towards this purpose. The chemical distinctness of the mutant wax phenotypes was confirmed by gas chromatographic measurements. Next generation amplicon pyrosequencing of the bacterial communities showed distinct community patterns. This observation was supported by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis experiments. Microbial community analyses revealed bacterial phylotypes that were ubiquitously present on all plant lines (termed “core” community) while others were positively or negatively affected by the wax mutant phenotype (termed “plant line-specific“ community). We conclude from this study that plant cuticular wax composition can affect the community composition of phyllosphere bacteria.
The Baltic Sea is characterized by hyposaline surface waters, hypoxic and anoxic deep waters and sediments. These conditions, which in turn lead to a steep oxygen gradient, are particularly evident at Landsort Deep in the Baltic Proper. Given these substantial differences in environmental parameters at Landsort Deep, we performed a metagenomic census spanning surface to sediment to establish whether the microbial communities at this site are as stratified as the physical environment. We report strong stratification across a depth transect for both functional capacity and taxonomic affiliation, with functional capacity corresponding most closely to key environmental parameters of oxygen, salinity and temperature. We report similarities in functional capacity between the hypoxic community and hadal zone communities, underscoring the substantial degree of eutrophication in the Baltic Proper. Reconstruction of the nitrogen cycle at Landsort deep shows potential for syntrophy between archaeal ammonium oxidizers and bacterial denitrification at anoxic depths, while anaerobic ammonium oxidation genes are absent, despite substantial ammonium levels below the chemocline. Our census also reveals enrichment in genetic prerequisites for a copiotrophic lifestyle and resistance mechanisms reflecting adaptation to prevalent eutrophic conditions and the accumulation of environmental pollutants resulting from ongoing anthropogenic pressures in the Baltic Sea.
Microorganisms associated with coastal sands serve as a natural biofilter, providing essential nutrient recycling in nearshore environments and acting to maintain coastal ecosystem health. Anthropogenic stressors often impact these ecosystems, but little is known about whether these disturbances can be identified through microbial community change. The blowout of the Macondo Prospect reservoir on April 20, 2010, which released oil hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico, presented an opportunity to examine whether microbial community composition might provide a sensitive measure of ecosystem disturbance. Samples were collected on four occasions, beginning in mid-June, during initial beach oiling, until mid-November from surface sand and surf zone waters at seven beaches stretching from Bay St. Louis, MS to St. George Island, FL USA. Oil hydrocarbon measurements and NOAA shoreline assessments indicated little to no impact on the two most eastern beaches (controls). Sequence comparisons of bacterial ribosomal RNA gene hypervariable regions isolated from beach sands located to the east and west of Mobile Bay in Alabama demonstrated that regional drivers account for markedly different bacterial communities. Individual beaches had unique community signatures that persisted over time and exhibited spatial relationships, where community similarity decreased as horizontal distance between samples increased from one to hundreds of meters. In contrast, sequence analyses detected larger temporal and less spatial variation among the water samples. Superimposed upon these beach community distance and time relationships, was increased variability in bacterial community composition from oil hydrocarbon contaminated sands. The increased variability was observed among the core, resident, and transient community members, indicating the occurrence of community-wide impacts rather than solely an overprinting of oil hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria onto otherwise relatively stable sand population structures. Among sequences classified to genus, Alcanivorax, Alteromonas, Marinobacter, Winogradskyella, and Zeaxanthinibacter exhibited the largest relative abundance increases in oiled sands.
Knowledge on spatial scales of the distribution of deep-sea life is still sparse, but highly relevant to the understanding of dispersal, habitat ranges and ecological processes. We examined regional spatial distribution patterns of the benthic bacterial community and covarying environmental parameters such as water depth, biomass and energy availability at the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site HAUSGARTEN (Eastern Fram Strait). Samples from 13 stations were retrieved from a bathymetric (1,284–3,535 m water depth, 54 km in length) and a latitudinal transect (∼ 2,500 m water depth; 123 km in length). 454 massively parallel tag sequencing (MPTS) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) were combined to describe both abundant and rare types shaping the bacterial community. This spatial sampling scheme allowed detection of up to 99% of the estimated richness on phylum and class levels. At the resolution of operational taxonomic units (97% sequence identity; OTU3%) only 36% of the Chao1 estimated richness was recovered, indicating a high diversity, mostly due to rare types (62% of all OTU3%). Accordingly, a high turnover of the bacterial community was also observed between any two sampling stations (average replacement of 79% of OTU3%), yet no direct correlation with spatial distance was observed within the region. Bacterial community composition and structure differed significantly with increasing water depth along the bathymetric transect. The relative sequence abundance of Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes decreased significantly with water depth, and that of Deferribacteres increased. Energy availability, estimated from phytodetrital pigment concentrations in the sediments, partly explained the variation in community structure. Overall, this study indicates a high proportion of unique bacterial types on relatively small spatial scales (tens of kilometers), and supports the sampling design of the LTER site HAUSGARTEN to study bacterial community shifts in this rapidly changing area of the world’s oceans.
The soil ecosystem is critical for human health, affecting aspects of the environment from key agricultural and edaphic parameters to critical influence on climate change. Soil has more unknown biodiversity than any other ecosystem. We have applied diverse DNA extraction methods coupled with high throughput pyrosequencing to explore 4.88 × 109 bp of metagenomic sequence data from the longest continually studied soil environment (Park Grass experiment at Rothamsted Research in the UK). Results emphasize important DNA extraction biases and unexpectedly low seasonal and vertical soil metagenomic functional class variations. Clustering-based subsystems and carbohydrate metabolism had the largest quantity of annotated reads assigned although <50% of reads were assigned at an E value cutoff of 10−5. In addition, with the more detailed subsystems, cAMP signaling in bacteria (3.24±0.27% of the annotated reads) and the Ton and Tol transport systems (1.69±0.11%) were relatively highly represented. The most highly represented genome from the database was that for a Bradyrhizobium species. The metagenomic variance created by integrating natural and methodological fluctuations represents a global picture of the Rothamsted soil metagenome that can be used for specific questions and future inter-environmental metagenomic comparisons. However, only 1% of annotated sequences correspond to already sequenced genomes at 96% similarity and E values of <10−5, thus, considerable genomic reconstructions efforts still have to be performed.
soil metagenomics; phylogenetic; pyrosequencing; structural biodiversity; functional biodiversity
Neonatal sepsis in the developing world is incompletely characterized. We seek to characterize the microbial spectrum involved in sepsis and determine the role of maternal transmission by comparing organisms that can be cultured from septic newborn infants and their mothers. From 80 consecutive mother-infant pairs meeting clinical criteria for neonatal sepsis, we collected infant blood and spinal fluid, and maternal blood and vaginal specimens. Identifiable bacteria were recovered from the blood in 32.5% of infants, and from 2.5% of cerebrospinal fluid cultures, for a total of 35% recoverable putative causative agents. Bacteria recovered from vaginal specimens were not concordant with those recovered from infants. Similarly there was no concordance of bacteria recovered from blood and cerebrospinal fluid. We conclude that relying on traditional bacterial culture techniques does not adequately delineate the role of maternal versus environmental sources of neonatal sepsis in this setting. More sensitive molecular approaches will be needed to properly characterize the maternal and environmental microbial community involved in neonatal sepsis in such developing countries.
Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies have allowed scientists to probe increasingly complex biological systems, including the diversity of bacteria in the environment. However, despite a multitude of recent studies incorporating these methods, many questions regarding how environmental samples should be collected and stored still persist. Here, we assess the impact of different soil storage conditions on microbial community composition using Illumina-based 16S rRNA V4 amplicon sequencing. Both storage time and temperature affected bacterial community composition and structure. Frozen samples maintained the highest alpha diversity and differed least in beta diversity, suggesting the utility of cold storage for maintaining consistent communities. Samples stored for intermediate times (three and seven days) had both the highest alpha diversity and the largest differences in overall beta diversity, showing the degree of community change after sample collection. These divergences notwithstanding, differences in neither storage time nor storage temperature substantially altered overall communities relative to more than 500 previously examined soil samples. These results systematically support previous studies and stress the importance of methodological consistency for accurate characterization and comparison of soil microbiological assemblages.
GenGIS is free and open source software designed to integrate biodiversity data with a digital map and information about geography and habitat. While originally developed with microbial community analyses and phylogeography in mind, GenGIS has been applied to a wide range of datasets. A key feature of GenGIS is the ability to test geographic axes that can correspond to routes of migration or gradients that influence community similarity. Here we introduce GenGIS version 2, which extends the linear gradient tests introduced in the first version to allow comprehensive testing of all possible linear geographic axes. GenGIS v2 also includes a new plugin framework that supports the development and use of graphically driven analysis packages: initial plugins include implementations of linear regression and the Mantel test, calculations of alpha-diversity (e.g., Shannon Index) for all samples, and geographic visualizations of dissimilarity matrices. We have also implemented a recently published method for biomonitoring reference condition analysis (RCA), which compares observed species richness and diversity to predicted values to determine whether a given site has been impacted. The newest version of GenGIS supports vector data in addition to raster files. We demonstrate the new features of GenGIS by performing a full gradient analysis of an Australian kangaroo apple data set, by using plugins and embedded statistical commands to analyze human microbiome sample data, and by applying RCA to a set of samples from Atlantic Canada. GenGIS release versions, tutorials and documentation are freely available at http://kiwi.cs.dal.ca/GenGIS, and source code is available at https://github.com/beiko-lab/gengis.
Seaweeds are key species of the Baltic Sea benthic ecosystems. They are the substratum of numerous fouling epibionts like bryozoans and tubeworms. Several of these epibionts bear calcified structures and could be impacted by the high pCO2 events of the late summer upwellings in the Baltic nearshores. Those events are expected to increase in strength and duration with global change and ocean acidification. If calcifying epibionts are impacted by transient acidification as driven by upwelling events, their increasing prevalence could cause a shift of the fouling communities toward fleshy species. The aim of the present study was to test the sensitivity of selected seaweed macrofoulers to transient elevation of pCO2 in their natural microenvironment, i.e. the boundary layer covering the thallus surface of brown seaweeds. Fragments of the macroalga Fucus serratus bearing an epibiotic community composed of the calcifiers Spirorbis spirorbis (Annelida) and Electra pilosa (Bryozoa) and the non-calcifier Alcyonidium hirsutum (Bryozoa) were maintained for 30 days under three pCO2 conditions: natural 460±59 µatm, present-day upwelling1193±166 µatm and future upwelling 3150±446 µatm. Only the highest pCO2 caused a significant reduction of growth rates and settlement of S. spirorbis individuals. Additionally, S.
spirorbis settled juveniles exhibited enhanced calcification of 40% during daylight hours compared to dark hours, possibly reflecting a day-night alternation of an acidification-modulating effect by algal photosynthesis as opposed to an acidification-enhancing effect of algal respiration. E. pilosa colonies showed significantly increased growth rates at intermediate pCO2 (1193 µatm) but no response to higher pCO2. No effect of acidification on A. hirsutum colonies growth rates was observed. The results suggest a remarkable resistance of the algal macro-epibionts to levels of acidification occurring at present day upwellings in the Baltic. Only extreme future upwelling conditions impacted the tubeworm S.
spirorbis, but not the bryozoans.
Next-generation sequencing has greatly contributed to an improved ecological understanding of the human gut microbiota. Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the characteristics of this ecosystem and the ecological processes that shape it, and controversy has arisen regarding the stability of the bacterial populations and the existence of a temporal core. In this study, we have characterized the fecal microbial communities of three human individuals over a one-year period by 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA tags in order to investigate the temporal characteristics of the bacterial communities. The findings revealed a temporal core of 33 to 40 species-level Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) within subjects. Although these OTUs accounted only for around 12% of the total OTUs detected, they added up to >75% of the total sequences obtained for each individual. In order to determine the capacity of the sequencing and bioinformatic approaches applied during this study to accurately determine the proportion of a core microbiota, we analyzed the fecal microbiota of nine mice with a defined three-member community. This experiment revealed that the sequencing approach inflated the amount of rare OTUs, which introduced a significant degree of artificial variation across samples, and hence reduced the apparent fraction of shared OTUs. However, when assessing the data quantitatively by focusing on dominant lineages, the sequencing approaches deliver an accurate representation of the community. In conclusion, this study revealed that the human fecal microbiota is dominated by around 40 species that maintain persistent populations over the duration of one year. The findings allow conclusions about the ecological factors that shape the community and support the concept of a homeostatic ecosystem controlled largely by deterministic processes. Our analysis of a three-member community revealed that methodological artifacts of OTU-based approaches complicate core calculations, and these limitations have to be considered in the interpretation of microbiome studies.
High proportions of autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, implying a link between autism and abnormalities in gut microbial functions. Increasing evidence from recent high-throughput sequencing analyses indicates that disturbances in composition and diversity of gut microbiome are associated with various disease conditions. However, microbiome-level studies on autism are limited and mostly focused on pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, here we aimed to define systemic changes in gut microbiome associated with autism and autism-related GI problems. We recruited 20 neurotypical and 20 autistic children accompanied by a survey of both autistic severity and GI symptoms. By pyrosequencing the V2/V3 regions in bacterial 16S rDNA from fecal DNA samples, we compared gut microbiomes of GI symptom-free neurotypical children with those of autistic children mostly presenting GI symptoms. Unexpectedly, the presence of autistic symptoms, rather than the severity of GI symptoms, was associated with less diverse gut microbiomes. Further, rigorous statistical tests with multiple testing corrections showed significantly lower abundances of the genera Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae in autistic samples. These are intriguingly versatile carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting bacteria, suggesting a potential influence of unusual diet patterns observed in autistic children. However, multivariate analyses showed that autism-related changes in both overall diversity and individual genus abundances were correlated with the presence of autistic symptoms but not with their diet patterns. Taken together, autism and accompanying GI symptoms were characterized by distinct and less diverse gut microbial compositions with lower levels of Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae.
Microbial communities exhibit exquisitely complex structure. Many aspects of this complexity, from the number of species to the total number of interactions, are currently very difficult to examine directly. However, extraordinary efforts are being made to make these systems accessible to scientific investigation. While recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have improved accessibility to the taxonomic and functional diversity of complex communities, monitoring the dynamics of these systems over time and space - using appropriate experimental design - is still expensive. Fortunately, modeling can be used as a lens to focus low-resolution observations of community dynamics to enable mathematical abstractions of functional and taxonomic dynamics across space and time. Here we review the approaches for modeling bacterial diversity at both the very large and the very small scales at which microbial systems interact with their environments. We show that modeling can help to connect biogeochemical processes to specific microbial metabolic pathways.
The physiology of ticks supports a diverse community of non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms. This study aims to initially characterize the microbial community present within colony-reared Amblyomma americanum using PCR of the variable region 5 of the 16S rRNA gene followed by semiconductor sequencing and classification of sequence data using the Ribosomal Database Project and MG-RAST analysis tools. Comparison of amplicon library datasets revealed changes in the microbiomes in newly engorged nymphs, newly-molted adults, and aged adults, as well as ticks exposed to different environmental conditions. These preliminary data support the concept that microbe survivorship and diversity are partially dependent upon environmental variables and the sequence of blood feeding, molting, and aging. The maintenance and/or emergence of pathogens in ticks may be dependent in part on temporal changes in the microbial community of the tick microbiome.
Understanding controls over the distribution of soil bacteria is a fundamental step toward describing soil ecosystems, understanding their functional capabilities, and predicting their responses to environmental change. This study investigated the controls on the biomass, species richness, and community structure and composition of soil bacterial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, at local and regional scales. The goals of the study were to describe the relationships between abiotic characteristics and soil bacteria in this unique, microbially dominated environment, and to test the scale dependence of these relationships in a low complexity ecosystem. Samples were collected from dry mineral soils associated with snow patches, which are a significant source of water in this desert environment, at six sites located in the major basins of the Taylor and Wright Valleys. Samples were analyzed for a suite of characteristics including soil moisture, pH, electrical conductivity, soil organic matter, major nutrients and ions, microbial biomass, 16 S rRNA gene richness, and bacterial community structure and composition. Snow patches created local biogeochemical gradients while inter-basin comparisons encompassed landscape scale gradients enabling comparisons of microbial controls at two distinct spatial scales. At the organic carbon rich, mesic, low elevation sites Acidobacteria and Actinobacteria were prevalent, while Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were dominant at the high elevation, low moisture and biomass sites. Microbial parameters were significantly related with soil water content and edaphic characteristics including soil pH, organic matter, and sulfate. However, the magnitude and even the direction of these relationships varied across basins and the application of mixed effects models revealed evidence of significant contextual effects at local and regional scales. The results highlight the importance of the geographic scale of sampling when determining the controls on soil microbial community characteristics.
Bacteria are recognized as important drivers of biogeochemical processes in all aquatic ecosystems. Temporal and geographical patterns in ocean bacterial communities have been observed in many studies, but the temporal and spatial patterns in the bacterial communities from the South China Sea remained unexplored. To determine the spatiotemporal patterns, we generated 16S rRNA datasets for 15 samples collected from the five regularly distributed sites of the South China Sea in three seasons (spring, summer, winter). A total of 491 representative sequences were analyzed by MOTHUR, yielding 282 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) grouped at 97% stringency. Significant temporal variations of bacterial diversity were observed. Richness and diversity indices indicated that summer samples were the most diverse. The main bacterial group in spring and summer samples was Alphaproteobacteria, followed by Cyanobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, whereas Cyanobacteria dominated the winter samples. Spatial patterns in the samples were observed that samples collected from the coastal (D151, D221) waters and offshore (D157, D1512, D224) waters clustered separately, the coastal samples harbored more diverse bacterial communities. However, the temporal pattern of the coastal site D151 was contrary to that of the coastal site D221. The LIBSHUFF statistics revealed noticeable differences among the spring, summer and winter libraries collected at five sites. The UPGMA tree showed there were temporal and spatial heterogeneity of bacterial community composition in coastal waters of the South China Sea. The water salinity (P=0.001) contributed significantly to the bacteria-environment relationship. Our results revealed that bacterial community structures were influenced by environmental factors and community-level changes in 16S-based diversity were better explained by spatial patterns than by temporal patterns.
Oil spills threaten coastlines where biological processes supply essential ecosystem services. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how oil influences the microbial communities in sediments that play key roles in ecosystem functioning. Ecosystems such as sediments are characterized by intensive bioturbation due to burrowing macrofauna that may modify the microbial metabolisms. It is thus essential to consider the bioturbation when determining the impact of oil on microbial communities. In this study, an experimental laboratory device maintaining pristine collected mudflat sediments in microcosms closer to true environmental conditions – with tidal cycles and natural seawater – was used to simulate an oil spill under bioturbation conditions. Different conditions were applied to the microcosms including an addition of: standardized oil (Blend Arabian Light crude oil, 25.6 mg.g−1 wet sediment), the common burrowing organism Hediste (Nereis) diversicolor and both the oil and H. diversicolor. The addition of H. diversicolor and its associated bioturbation did not affect the removal of petroleum hydrocarbons. After 270 days, 60% of hydrocarbons had been removed in all microcosms irrespective of the H. diversicolor addition. However, 16S-rRNA gene and 16S-cDNA T-RFLP and RT-PCR-amplicon libraries analysis showed an effect of the condition on the bacterial community structure, composition, and dynamics, supported by PerMANOVA analysis. The 16S-cDNA libraries from microcosms where H. diversicolor was added (oiled and un-oiled) showed a marked dominance of sequences related to Gammaproteobacteria. However, in the oiled-library sequences associated to Deltaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes were also highly represented. The 16S-cDNA libraries from oiled-microcosms (with and without H. diversicolor addition) revealed two distinct microbial communities characterized by different phylotypes associated to known hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria and dominated by Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria. In the oiled-microcosms, the addition of H. diversicolor reduced the phylotype-richness, sequences associated to Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Plantomycetes were not detected. These observations highlight the influence of the bioturbation on the bacterial community structure without affecting the biodegradation capacities.
Nitrogen cycle is a critical biogeochemical process of the oceans. The nitrogen fixation by sponge cyanobacteria was early observed. Until recently, sponges were found to be able to release nitrogen gas. However the gene-level evidence for the role of bacterial symbionts from different species sponges in nitrogen gas release is limited. And meanwhile, the quanitative analysis of nitrogen cycle-related genes of sponge microbial symbionts is relatively lacking. The nirK gene encoding nitrite reductase which catalyzes soluble nitrite into gas NO and nosZ gene encoding nitrous oxide reductase which catalyzes N2O into N2 are two key functional genes in the complete denitrification pathway. In this study, using nirK and nosZ genes as markers, the potential of bacterial symbionts in six species of sponges in the release of N2 was investigated by phylogenetic analysis and real-time qPCR. As a result, totally, 2 OTUs of nirK and 5 OTUs of nosZ genes were detected by gene library-based saturated sequencing. Difference phylogenetic diversity of nirK and nosZ genes were observed at OTU level in sponges. Meanwhile, real-time qPCR analysis showed that Xestospongia testudinaria had the highest abundance of nosZ gene, while Cinachyrella sp. had the greatest abundance of nirK gene. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the nirK and nosZ genes were probably of Alpha-, Beta-, and Gammaproteobacteria origin. The results from this study suggest that the denitrification potential of bacteria varies among sponges because of the different phylogenetic diversity and relative abundance of nosZ and nirK genes in sponges. Totally, both the qualitative and quantitative analyses of nirK and nosZ genes indicated the different potential of sponge bacterial symbionts in the release of nitrogen gas.