Meta-analysis of quantification methods shows that archaea and bacteria have similar abundances in the subseafloor.
ABSTRACT: There is no universally accepted method to quantify bacteria and archaea in seawater and marine sediments, and different methods have produced conflicting results with the same samples. To identify best practices, we compiled data from 65 studies, plus our own measurements, in which bacteria and archaea were quantified with fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), catalyzed reporter deposition FISH (CARD-FISH), polyribonucleotide FISH, or quantitative PCR (qPCR). To estimate efficiency, we defined "yield" to be the sum of bacteria and archaea counted by these techniques divided by the total number of cells. In seawater, the yield was high (median, 71%) and was similar for FISH, CARD-FISH, and polyribonucleotide FISH. In sediments, only measurements by CARD-FISH in which archaeal cells were permeabilized with proteinase K showed high yields (median, 84%). Therefore, the majority of cells in both environments appear to be alive, since they contain intact ribosomes. In sediments, the sum of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene qPCR counts was not closely related to cell counts, even after accounting for variations in copy numbers per genome. However, qPCR measurements were precise relative to other qPCR measurements made on the same samples. qPCR is therefore a reliable relative quantification method. Inconsistent results for the relative abundance of bacteria versus archaea in deep subsurface sediments were resolved by the removal of CARD-FISH measurements in which lysozyme was used to permeabilize archaeal cells and qPCR measurements which used ARCH516 as an archaeal primer or TaqMan probe. Data from best-practice methods showed that archaea and bacteria decreased as the depth in seawater and marine sediments increased, although archaea decreased more slowly.
Project description:For the first time quantitative data on the abundance of Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya in deep terrestrial sediments are provided using multiple methods (total cell counting, quantitative real-time PCR, Q-PCR and catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization, CARD-FISH). The oligotrophic (organic carbon content of ?0.2%) deep terrestrial sediments in the Chesapeake Bay area at Eyreville, Virginia, USA, were drilled and sampled up to a depth of 140?m in 2006. The possibility of contamination during drilling was checked using fluorescent microspheres. Total cell counts decreased from 10(9) to 10(6) cells/g dry weight within the uppermost 20?m, and did not further decrease with depth below. Within the top 7?m, a significant proportion of the total cell counts could be detected with CARD-FISH. The CARD-FISH numbers for Bacteria were about an order of magnitude higher than those for Archaea. The dominance of Bacteria over Archaea was confirmed by Q-PCR. The down core quantitative distribution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic small subunit ribosomal RNA genes as well as functional genes involved in different biogeochemical processes was revealed by Q-PCR for the uppermost 10?m and for 80-140?m depth. Eukarya and the Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-reducing bacterial group Geobacteriaceae were almost exclusively found in the uppermost meter (arable soil), where reactive iron was detected in higher amounts. The bacterial candidate division JS-1 and the classes Anaerolineae and Caldilineae of the phylum Chloroflexi, highly abundant in marine sediments, were found up to the maximum sampling depth in high copy numbers at this terrestrial site as well. A similar high abundance of the functional gene cbbL encoding for the large subunit of RubisCO suggests that autotrophic microorganisms could be relevant in addition to heterotrophs. The functional gene aprA of sulfate reducing bacteria was found within distinct layers up to ca. 100?m depth in low copy numbers. The gene mcrA of methanogens was not detectable. Cloning and sequencing data of 16S rRNA genes revealed sequences of typical soil Bacteria. The closest relatives of the archaeal sequences were Archaea recovered from terrestrial and marine environments. Phylogenetic analysis of the Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota revealed new members of the uncultured South African Gold Mine Group, Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vent Euryarchaeotal Group 6, and Miscellaneous Crenarcheotic Group clusters.
Project description:The prokaryotic community composition of activated sludge from a seawater-processing wastewater treatment plant (Almeria, Spain) was investigated by using the rRNA approach, combining different molecular techniques such as denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), clone libraries and in situ hybridization (FISH and CARD-FISH). Most of the sequences retrieved in the DGGE and the clone libraries were similar to uncultured members of different phyla. The most abundant sequence recovered from Bacteria in the clone library corresponded to a bacterium from the Deinococcus-Thermus cluster (almost 77% of the clones), and the library included members from other groups such as the Alpha, Gamma and Delta subclasses of Proteobacteria, the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Concerning the archaeal clone library, we basically found sequences related to different orders of methanogenic Archaea, in correspondence with the recovered DGGE bands. Enumeration of DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) stained cells from two different activated sludge samples after a mechanical flocculation disruption revealed a mean cell count of 1.6 × 10(9) ml(-1) . Around 94% of DAPI counts (mean value from both samples) hybridized with a Bacteria specific probe. Alphaproteobacteria were the dominant bacterial group (36% of DAPI counts), while Beta-, Delta- and Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes contributed to lower proportions (between 0.5-5.7% of DAPI counts). Archaea accounted only for 6% of DAPI counts. In addition, specific primers for amplification of the amoA (ammonia monooxygenase) gene were used to detect the presence of Beta, Gamma and archaeal nitrifiers, yielding positive amplifications only for Betaproteobacteria. This, together with negative in situ hybridizations with probes for well-known nitrifiying bacteria, suggests that nitrification is performed by still undetected microorganisms. In summary, the combination of the three approaches provided different and complementary pictures of the real assemblage composition and allowed to get closer to the main microorganisms involved in key processes of seawater-processing activated sludge.
Project description:A cold methane seep was discovered in a forearc sediment basin off the island Sumatra, exhibiting a methane-seep adapted microbial community. A defined seep center of activity, like in mud volcanoes, was not discovered. The seep area was rather characterized by a patchy distribution of active spots. The relevance of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) was reflected by (13)C-depleted isotopic signatures of dissolved inorganic carbon. The anaerobic conversion of methane to CO(2) was confirmed in a (13)C-labeling experiment. Methane fueled a vital microbial community with cell numbers of up to 4 × 10(9) cells cm(-3) sediment. The microbial community was analyzed by total cell counting, catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH), quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). CARD-FISH cell counts and qPCR measurements showed the presence of Bacteria and Archaea, but only small numbers of Eukarya. The archaeal community comprised largely members of ANME-1 and ANME-2. Furthermore, members of the Crenarchaeota were frequently detected in the DGGE analysis. Three major bacterial phylogenetic groups (δ-Proteobacteria, candidate division OP9, and Anaerolineaceae) were abundant across the study area. Several of these sequences were closely related to the genus Desulfococcus of the family Desulfobacteraceae, which is in good agreement with previously described AOM sites. In conclusion, the majority of the microbial community at the seep consisted of AOM-related microorganisms, while the relevance of higher hydrocarbons as microbial substrates was negligible.
Project description:Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) using rRNA-specific oligonucleotide probes has emerged as a popular technique for identifying individual microbial cells. In natural samples, however, the signal derived from fluor-labeled oligonucleotide probes often is undetectable above background fluorescence in many cells. To circumvent this difficulty, we applied fluorochrome-labeled polyribonucleotide probes to identify and enumerate marine planktonic archaea and bacteria. The approach greatly enhanced the sensitivity and applicability of FISH with seawater samples, allowing confident identification and enumeration of planktonic cells to ocean depths of 3,400 m. Quantitative whole-cell hybridization experiments using these probes accounted for 90 to 100% of the total 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-stained cells in most samples. As predicted in a previous study (R. Massana, A. E. Murray, C. M. Preston, and E. F. DeLong, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 63:50-56, 1997), group I and II marine archaea predominate in different zones in the water column, with maximal cell densities of 10(5)/ml. The high cell densities of archaea, extending from surface waters to abyssal depths, suggest that they represent a large and significant fraction of the total picoplankton biomass in coastal ocean waters. The data also show that the vast majority of planktonic prokaryotes contain significant numbers of ribosomes, rendering them easily detectable with polyribonucleotide probes. These results imply that the majority of planktonic cells visualized by DAPI do not represent lysed cells or "ghosts," as was suggested in a previous report.
Project description:Submarine mud volcanoes (SMVs) are formed by muddy sediments and breccias extruded to the seafloor from a source in the deep subseafloor and are characterized by the discharge of methane and other hydrocarbon gasses and deep-sourced fluids into the overlying seawater. Although SMVs act as a natural pipeline connecting the Earth's surface and subsurface biospheres, the dispersal of deep-biosphere microorganisms and their ecological roles remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the microbial communities in sediment and overlying seawater at two SMVs located on the Ryukyu Trench off Tanegashima Island, southern Japan. The microbial communities in mud volcano sediments were generally distinct from those in the overlying seawaters and in the well-stratified Pacific margin sediments collected at the Peru Margin, the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank off Oregon, and offshore of Shimokita Peninsula, northeastern Japan. Nevertheless, in-depth analysis of different taxonomic groups at the sub-species level revealed that the taxon affiliated with Atribacteria, heterotrophic anaerobic bacteria that typically occur in organic-rich anoxic subseafloor sediments, were commonly found not only in SMV sediments but also in the overlying seawater. We designed a new oligonucleotide probe for detecting Atribacteria using the catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH). CARD-FISH, digital PCR and sequencing analysis of 16S rRNA genes consistently showed that Atribacteria are abundant in the methane plumes of the two SMVs (0.58 and 1.5 × 104 cells/mL, respectively) but not in surrounding waters, suggesting that microbial cells in subseafloor sediments are dispersed as "deep-biosphere seeds" into the ocean. These findings may have important implications for the microbial transmigration between the deep subseafloor biosphere and the hydrosphere.
Project description:Using a culture-independent method that combines CARD-FISH, qPCR and 16S rDNA, we investigated the abundance, community structure and diversity of microbes along a steep thermal gradient (50-90?°C) in the Tengchong Geothermal Field. We found that Bacteria and Archaea abundance changed markedly with temperature changes and that the number of cells was lowest at high temperatures (90.8?°C). Under low-temperature conditions (52.3-74.6?°C), the microbial communities were dominated by Bacteria, which accounted for 60-80% of the total number of cells. At 74.6?°C, Archaea were dominant, and at 90.8?°C, they accounted for more than 90% of the total number of cells. Additionally, the microbial communities at high temperatures (74.6-90.8?°C) were substantially simpler than those at the low-temperature sites. Only a few genera (e.g., bacterial Caldisericum, Thermotoga and Thermoanaerobacter, archaeal Vulcanisaeta and Hyperthermus) often dominated in high-temperature environments. Additionally, a positive correlation between Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea (AOA) activity and temperature was detected. AOA activity increased from 17 to 52 pmol of NO2(-) per cell d(-1) with a temperature change from 50 to 70?°C.
Project description:The factors controlling the relative abundances of Archaea and Bacteria in marine sediments are poorly understood. We determined depth distributions of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes by quantitative PCR at eight stations in Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Bacterial outnumber archaeal genes 10-60-fold in uppermost sediments that are irrigated and mixed by macrofauna. This bioturbation is indicated by visual observations of sediment color and faunal tracks, by porewater profiles of dissolved inorganic carbon and sulfate, and by distributions of unsupported 210Pb and 137Cs. Below the depth of bioturbation, the relative abundances of archaeal genes increase, accounting for one third of 16S rRNA genes in the sulfate zone, and half of 16S rRNA genes in the sulfate-methane transition zone and methane zone. Phylogenetic analyses reveal a strong shift in bacterial and archaeal community structure from bioturbated sediments to underlying layers. Stable isotopic analyses on organic matter and porewater geochemical gradients suggest that macrofauna mediate bacterial dominance and affect microbial community structure in bioturbated sediment by introducing fresh organic matter and high-energy electron acceptors from overlying seawater. Below the zone of bioturbation, organic matter content and the presence of sulfate exert key influences on bacterial and archaeal abundances and overall microbial community structure.
Project description:Ammonia oxidation is an essential part of the global nitrogen cycling and was long thought to be driven only by bacteria. Recent findings expanded this pathway also to the archaea. However, most questions concerning the metabolism of ammonia-oxidizing archaea, such as ammonia oxidation and potential CO(2) fixation, remain open, especially for terrestrial environments. Here, we investigated the activity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in an agricultural soil by comparison of RNA- and DNA-stable isotope probing (SIP). RNA-SIP demonstrated a highly dynamic and diverse community involved in CO(2) fixation and carbon assimilation coupled to ammonia oxidation. DNA-SIP showed growth of the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria but not of archaea. Furthermore, the analysis of labeled RNA found transcripts of the archaeal acetyl-CoA/propionyl-CoA carboxylase (accA/pccB) to be expressed and labeled. These findings strongly suggest that ammonia-oxidizing archaeal groups in soil autotrophically fix CO(2) using the 3-hydroxypropionate-4-hydroxybutyrate cycle, one of the two pathways recently identified for CO(2) fixation in Crenarchaeota. Catalyzed reporter deposition (CARD)-FISH targeting the gene encoding subunit A of ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) mRNA and 16S rRNA of archaea also revealed ammonia-oxidizing archaea to be numerically relevant among the archaea in this soil. Our results demonstrate a diverse and dynamic contribution of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in soil to nitrification and CO(2) assimilation and that their importance to the overall archaeal community might be larger than previously thought.
Project description:The oxidation of methane in anoxic marine sediments is thought to be mediated by a consortium of methane-consuming archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In this study, we compared results of rRNA gene (rDNA) surveys and lipid analyses of archaea and bacteria associated with methane seep sediments from several different sites on the Californian continental margin. Two distinct archaeal lineages (ANME-1 and ANME-2), peripherally related to the order Methanosarcinales, were consistently associated with methane seep marine sediments. The same sediments contained abundant (13)C-depleted archaeal lipids, indicating that one or both of these archaeal groups are members of anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia. (13)C-depleted lipids and the signature 16S rDNAs for these archaeal groups were absent in nearby control sediments. Concurrent surveys of bacterial rDNAs revealed a predominance of delta-proteobacteria, in particular, close relatives of Desulfosarcina variabilis. Biomarker analyses of the same sediments showed bacterial fatty acids with strong (13)C depletion that are likely products of these sulfate-reducing bacteria. Consistent with these observations, whole-cell fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed aggregations of ANME-2 archaea and sulfate-reducing Desulfosarcina and Desulfococcus species. Additionally, the presence of abundant (13)C-depleted ether lipids, presumed to be of bacterial origin but unrelated to ether lipids of members of the order Desulfosarcinales, suggests the participation of additional bacterial groups in the methane-oxidizing process. Although the Desulfosarcinales and ANME-2 consortia appear to participate in the anaerobic oxidation of methane in marine sediments, our data suggest that other bacteria and archaea are also involved in methane oxidation in these environments.
Project description:The hydrothermal sediments of Guaymas Basin, an active spreading center in the Gulf of California (Mexico), are rich in porewater methane, short-chain alkanes, sulfate and sulfide, and provide a model system to explore habitat preferences of microorganisms, including sulfate-dependent, methane- and short chain alkane-oxidizing microbial communities. In this study, hot sediments (above 60°C) covered with sulfur-oxidizing microbial mats surrounding a hydrothermal mound (termed "Mat Mound") were characterized by porewater geochemistry of methane, C2-C6 short-chain alkanes, sulfate, sulfide, sulfate reduction rate measurements, in situ temperature gradients, bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and V6 tag pyrosequencing. The most abundantly detected groups in the Mat mound sediments include anaerobic methane-oxidizing archaea of the ANME-1 lineage and its sister clade ANME-1Guaymas, the uncultured bacterial groups SEEP-SRB2 within the Deltaproteobacteria and the separately branching HotSeep-1 Group; these uncultured bacteria are candidates for sulfate-reducing alkane oxidation and for sulfate-reducing syntrophy with ANME archaea. The archaeal dataset indicates distinct habitat preferences for ANME-1, ANME-1-Guaymas, and ANME-2 archaea in Guaymas Basin hydrothermal sediments. The bacterial groups SEEP-SRB2 and HotSeep-1 co-occur with ANME-1 and ANME-1Guaymas in hydrothermally active sediments underneath microbial mats in Guaymas Basin. We propose the working hypothesis that this mixed bacterial and archaeal community catalyzes the oxidation of both methane and short-chain alkanes, and constitutes a microbial community signature that is characteristic for hydrothermal and/or cold seep sediments containing both substrates.