Diversity of five anaerobic toluene-degrading microbial communities investigated using stable isotope probing.
ABSTRACT: Time-series DNA-stable isotope probing (SIP) was used to identify the microbes assimilating carbon from [(13)C]toluene under nitrate- or sulfate-amended conditions in a range of inoculum sources, including uncontaminated and contaminated soil and wastewater treatment samples. In all, five different phylotypes were found to be responsible for toluene degradation, and these included previously identified toluene degraders as well as novel toluene-degrading microorganisms. In microcosms constructed from granular sludge and amended with nitrate, the putative toluene degraders were classified in the genus Thauera, whereas in nitrate-amended microcosms constructed from a different source (agricultural soil), microorganisms in the family Comamonadaceae (genus unclassified) were the key putative degraders. In one set of sulfate-amended microcosms (agricultural soil), the putative toluene degraders were identified as belonging to the class Clostridia (genus Desulfosporosinus), while in other sulfate-amended microcosms, the putative degraders were in the class Deltaproteobacteria, within the family Syntrophobacteraceae (digester sludge) or Desulfobulbaceae (contaminated soil) (genus unclassified for both). Partial benzylsuccinate synthase gene (bssA, the functional gene for anaerobic toluene degradation) sequences were obtained for some samples, and quantitative PCR targeting this gene, along with SIP, was further used to confirm anaerobic toluene degradation by the identified species. The study illustrates the diversity of toluene degraders across different environments and highlights the utility of ribosomal and functional gene-based SIP for linking function with identity in microbial communities.
Project description:We demonstrate the feasibility of total RNA-SIP in experiments where microbes from a hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifer were studied in microcosms with 13C-labelled-toluene to understand their adaptation to the simultaneous availability of low levels of different electron acceptors. SIP successfully resolved the involvement of microaerobic vs. aerobic and anaerobic populations. Under microoxic, nitrate-amended conditions hydrocarbon degradation was actually stimulated, but transcripts of denitrification showed no signs of 13C-labelling. The expression of distinct oxygenase-based catabolic pathways for toluene degradation was clearly apparent in 13C-labelled mRNA. We discuss how these direct insights into the gene expression and adaptation mechanisms within complex degrader communities can guide more integrated approaches in monitoring and restoration of contaminated sites. Overall design: We set up a microcosm experiment using hydrocarbon-contaminated sediment incubated under 4 redox conditions: aerobic, microoxic, microoxic with nitrate, and anoxic with nitrate. Microcosms were provided with 13C-labeled toluene as substrate, and extracted RNA was separated into heavy (labeled) and light (unlabeled) fractions, which were sequenced to determine the identity of toluene-degraders in the 4 experimental conditions.
Project description:Bioavailability of electron acceptors is probably the most limiting factor in the restoration of anoxic, contaminated environments. The oxidation of contaminants such as aromatic hydrocarbons, particularly in aquifers, often depends on the reduction of ferric iron or sulphate. We have previously detected a highly active fringe zone beneath a toluene plume at a tar-oil contaminated aquifer in Germany, where a specialized community of contaminant degraders co-dominated by Desulfobulbaceae and Geobacteraceae had established. Although on-site geochemistry links degradation to sulphidogenic processes, dominating catabolic (benzylsuccinate synthase alpha-subunit, bssA) genes detected in situ appeared more related to those of Geobacter spp. Therefore, a stable isotope probing (SIP) incubation of sediment samples with 13C7-toluene and comparative electron acceptor amendment was performed. We introduce pyrosequencing of templates from SIP microcosms as a powerful new strategy in SIP gradient interpretation (Pyro-SIP). Our results reveal the central role of Desulfobulbaceae for sulphidogenic toluene degradation in situ, and affiliate the detected bssA genes to this lineage. This, and the absence of 13C-labelled DNA of Geobacter spp. in SIP gradients preclude their relevance as toluene degraders in situ. In contrast, Betaproteobacteria related to Georgfuchsia spp. became labelled under iron-reducing conditions. Furthermore, secondary toluene degraders belonging to the Peptococcaceae detected in both treatments suggest the possibility of functional redundancy amongst anaerobic toluene degraders on site. 2 samples examined from the different electron-acceptors (sulphate or ferric iron) incubates at the time point of maximal toluene degradation.
Project description:DNA-based stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP) was used in this study to investigate the uncultivated bacteria with benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) metabolism capacities in two Chinese forest soils (Mt. Maoer in Heilongjiang Province and Mt. Baicaowa in Hubei Province). We characterized three different phylotypes with responsibility for BaP degradation, none of which were previously reported as BaP-degrading microorganisms by SIP. In Mt. Maoer soil microcosms, the putative BaP degraders were classified as belonging to the genus Terrimonas (family Chitinophagaceae, order Sphingobacteriales), whereas Burkholderia spp. were the key BaP degraders in Mt. Baicaowa soils. The addition of metabolic salicylate significantly increased BaP degradation efficiency in Mt. Maoer soils, and the BaP-metabolizing bacteria shifted to the microorganisms in the family Oxalobacteraceae (genus unclassified). Meanwhile, salicylate addition did not change either BaP degradation or putative BaP degraders in Mt. Baicaowa. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon ring-hydroxylating dioxygenase (PAH-RHD) genes were amplified, sequenced, and quantified in the DNA-SIP (13)C heavy fraction to further confirm the BaP metabolism. By illuminating the microbial diversity and salicylate additive effects on BaP degradation across different soils, the results increased our understanding of BaP natural attenuation and provided a possible approach to enhance the bioremediation of BaP-contaminated soils.
Project description:Microorganisms are essential in the degradation of environmental pollutants. Aromatic hydrocarbons, e.g., benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), are common aquifer contaminants, whose degradation in situ is often limited by the availability of electron acceptors. It is clear that different electron acceptors such as nitrate, iron, or sulfate support the activity of distinct degraders. However, this has not been demonstrated for the availability of nitrate vs. nitrite, both of which can be respired in reductive nitrogen cycling. Here via DNA-stable isotope probing, we report that nitrate and nitrite provided as electron acceptors in different concentrations and ratios not only modulated the microbial communities responsible for toluene degradation but also influenced how nitrate reduction proceeded. Zoogloeaceae members, mainly Azoarcus spp., were the key toluene degraders with nitrate-only, or both nitrate and nitrite as electron acceptors. In addition, a shift within Azoarcus degrader populations was observed on the amplicon sequence variant (ASV) level depending on electron acceptor ratios. In contrast, members of the Sphingomonadales were likely the most active toluene degraders when only nitrite was provided. Nitrate reduction did not proceed beyond nitrite in the nitrate-only treatment, while it continued when nitrite was initially also present in the microcosms. Likely, this was attributed to the fact that different microbial communities were stimulated and active in different microcosms. Together, these findings demonstrate that the availability of nitrate and nitrite can define degrader community selection and N-reduction outcomes. It also implies that nitrate usage efficiency in bioremediation could possibly be enhanced by an initial co-supply of nitrite, via modulating the active degrader communities.
Project description:Bioavailability of electron acceptors is probably the most limiting factor in the restoration of anoxic, contaminated environments. The oxidation of contaminants such as aromatic hydrocarbons, particularly in aquifers, often depends on the reduction of ferric iron or sulphate. We have previously detected a highly active fringe zone beneath a toluene plume at a tar-oil contaminated aquifer in Germany, where a specialized community of contaminant degraders co-dominated by Desulfobulbaceae and Geobacteraceae had established. Although on-site geochemistry links degradation to sulphidogenic processes, dominating catabolic (benzylsuccinate synthase alpha-subunit, bssA) genes detected in situ appeared more related to those of Geobacter spp. Therefore, a stable isotope probing (SIP) incubation of sediment samples with 13C7-toluene and comparative electron acceptor amendment was performed. We introduce pyrosequencing of templates from SIP microcosms as a powerful new strategy in SIP gradient interpretation (Pyro-SIP). Our results reveal the central role of Desulfobulbaceae for sulphidogenic toluene degradation in situ, and affiliate the detected bssA genes to this lineage. This, and the absence of 13C-labelled DNA of Geobacter spp. in SIP gradients preclude their relevance as toluene degraders in situ. In contrast, Betaproteobacteria related to Georgfuchsia spp. became labelled under iron-reducing conditions. Furthermore, secondary toluene degraders belonging to the Peptococcaceae detected in both treatments suggest the possibility of functional redundancy amongst anaerobic toluene degraders on site. Overall design: 2 samples examined from the different electron-acceptors (sulphate or ferric iron) incubates at the time point of maximal toluene degradation.
Project description:Stable isotope probing (SIP) was used to identify the aerobic toluene-degrading microorganism in soil microcosms. Several approaches (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and quantitative PCR) provided evidence that the microorganism responsible was a member of the genus Polaromonas and could grow on toluene. This microorganism also transformed benzene, but not m-xylene or cis-dichloroethene.
Project description:Anaerobic methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) degradation potential was investigated in samples from a range of sources. From these 22 experimental variations, only one source (from wastewater treatment plant samples) exhibited MTBE degradation. These microcosms were methanogenic and were subjected to DNA-based stable isotope probing (SIP) targeted to both bacteria and archaea to identify the putative MTBE degraders. For this purpose, DNA was extracted at two time points, subjected to ultracentrifugation, fractioning, and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP). In addition, bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed. The SIP experiments indicated bacteria in the phyla Firmicutes (family Ruminococcaceae) and Alphaproteobacteria (genus Sphingopyxis) were the dominant MTBE degraders. Previous studies have suggested a role for Firmicutes in anaerobic MTBE degradation; however, the putative MTBE-degrading microorganism in the current study is a novel MTBE-degrading phylotype within this phylum. Two archaeal phylotypes (genera Methanosarcina and Methanocorpusculum) were also enriched in the heavy fractions, and these organisms may be responsible for minor amounts of MTBE degradation or for the uptake of metabolites released from the primary MTBE degraders. Currently, limited information exists on the microorganisms able to degrade MTBE under anaerobic conditions. This work represents the first application of DNA-based SIP to identify anaerobic MTBE-degrading microorganisms in laboratory microcosms and therefore provides a valuable set of data to definitively link identity with anaerobic MTBE degradation.
Project description:We investigated the N-utilizing bacterial community in anoxic brackish groundwater of the low and intermediate level nuclear waste repository cave in Olkiluoto, Finland, at 100 m depth using (15)N-based stable isotope probing (SIP) and enrichment with (14?15)N-ammonium or (14?15)N-nitrate complemented with methane. Twenty-eight days of incubation at 12°C increased the concentration of bacterial 16S rRNA and nitrate reductase (narG) gene copies in the substrate amended microcosms simultaneously with a radical drop in the overall bacterial diversity and OTU richness. Hydrogenophaga/Malikia were enriched in all substrate amended microcosms and Methylobacter in the ammonium and ammonium+methane supplemented microcosms. Sulfuricurvum was especially abundant in the nitrate+methane treatment and the unamended incubation control. Membrane-bound nitrate reductase genes (narG) from Polarimonas sp. were detected in the original groundwater, while Burkholderia, Methylibium, and Pseudomonas narG genes were enriched due to substrate supplements. Identified amoA genes belonged to Nitrosomonas sp. (15)N-SIP revealed that Burkholderiales and Rhizobiales clades belonging to the minority groups in the original groundwater used (15)N from ammonium and nitrate as N source indicating an important ecological function of these bacteria, despite their low number, in the groundwater N cycle in Olkiluoto bedrock system.
Project description:Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is highly toxic and persistent in soils. Bioreduction of PCP often co-occurs with varying concentrations of sulfate and nitrate in flooded paddy soils where each can act as an electron acceptor. Anaerobic soil microcosms were constructed to evaluate the influence of sulfate and nitrate amendments and their redox processes. Microcosms with varying sulfate and nitrate concentrations demonstrated an inhibitory effect on reductive dechlorination of PCP compared to an untreated control. Compared to nitrate, sulfate exhibited a more significant impact on PCP dechlorination, as evidenced by a lower maximum reaction rate and a longer time to reach the maximum reaction rate. Dechlorination of PCP was initiated at the ortho-position, and then at the para- and meta-positions to form 3-CP as the final product in all microcosms. Deep sequencing of microbial communities in the microcosms revealed a strong variation in bacterial taxon among treatments. Specialized microbial groups, such as the genus of Desulfovibrio responding to the addition of sulfate, had a potential to mediate the competitive microbial dechlorination of PCP. Our results provide an insight into the competitive microbial-mediated reductive dechlorination of PCP in natural flooded soil or sediment environments.
Project description:Stable isotope probing (SIP) can be used to analyze the active bacterial populations involved in a process by incorporating 13C-labeled substrate into cellular components such as DNA. Relatively long incubation times are often used with laboratory microcosms in order to incorporate sufficient 13C into the DNA of the target organisms. Addition of nutrients can be used to accelerate the processes. However, unnatural concentrations of nutrients may artificially change bacterial diversity and activity. In this study, methanotroph activity and diversity in soil was examined during the consumption of 13CH4 with three DNA-SIP experiments, using microcosms with natural field soil water conditions, the addition of water, and the addition of mineral salts solution. Methanotroph population diversity was studied by targeting 16S rRNA and pmoA genes. Clone library analyses, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting, and pmoA microarray hybridization analyses were carried out. Most methanotroph diversity (type I and type II methanotrophs) was observed in non-amended SIP microcosms. Although this treatment probably best reflected the in situ environmental conditions, one major disadvantage of this incubation was that the incorporation of 13CH4 was slow and some cross-feeding of 13C occurred, thereby leading to labeling of nonmethanotroph microorganisms. Conversely, microcosms supplemented with mineral salts medium exhibited rapid consumption of 13CH4, resulting in the labeling of a less diverse population of only type I methanotrophs. DNA-SIP incubations using water-amended microcosms yielded faster incorporation of 13C into active methanotrophs while avoiding the cross-feeding of 13C.