Project description:The ever-increasing metagenomic data necessitate appropriate cataloguing in a way that facilitates the comparison and better contextualization of the underlying investigations. To this extent, information associated with the sequencing data as well as the original sample and the environment where it was obtained from is crucial. To date, there are not any publicly available repositories able to capture environmental metadata pertaining to hydrocarbon-rich environments. As such, contextualization and comparative analysis among sequencing datasets derived from these environments is to a certain degree hindered or cannot be fully evaluated. The metagenomics data management system for hydrocarbon resources (MetaHCRs) enables the capturing of marker gene and whole metagenome sequencing data as well as over 300 contextual attributes associated with samples, organisms, environments and geological properties, among others. Moreover, MetaHCR implements the Minimum Information about any Sequence-hydrocarbon resource specification from the Genomic Standards Consortium; it integrates a user-friendly web interface and relational database model, and it enables the generation of complex custom search. MetaHCR has been tested with 36 publicly available metagenomic studies, and its modular architecture can be easily customized for other types of environmental and metagenomics studies.
Project description:Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), produced by surface-mining of oil sands in Canada, is alkaline and contains high concentrations of salts, metals, naphthenic acids, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs). Residual hydrocarbon biodegradation occurs naturally, but little is known about the hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities present in OSPW. In this study, aerobic oxidation of benzene and naphthalene in the surface layer of an oil sands tailings pond were measured. The potential oxidation rates were 4.3 ?mol L-1 OSPW d-1 for benzene and 21.4 ?mol L-1 OSPW d-1 for naphthalene. To identify benzene and naphthalene-degrading microbial communities, metagenomics was combined with stable isotope probing (SIP), high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons, and isolation of microbial strains. SIP using 13C-benzene and 13C-naphthalene detected strains of the genera Methyloversatilis and Zavarzinia as the main benzene degraders, while strains belonging to the family Chromatiaceae and the genus Thauera were the main naphthalene degraders. Metagenomic analysis revealed a diversity of genes encoding oxygenases active against aromatic compounds. Although these genes apparently belonged to many phylogenetically diverse taxa, only a few of these taxa were predominant in the SIP experiments. This suggested that many members of the community are adapted to consuming other aromatic compounds, or are active only under specific conditions. 16S rRNA gene sequence datasets have been submitted to the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) under accession number SRP109130. The Gold Study and Project submission ID number in Joint Genome Institute IMG/M for the metagenome is Gs0047444 and Gp0055765.
Project description:Current knowledge of the microbial diversity and metabolic pathways involved in hydrocarbon degradation in petroleum reservoirs is still limited, mostly due to the difficulty in recovering the complex community from such an extreme environment. Metagenomics is a valuable tool to investigate the genetic and functional diversity of previously uncultured microorganisms in natural environments. Using a function-driven metagenomic approach, we investigated the metabolic abilities of microbial communities in oil reservoirs. Here, we describe novel functional metabolic pathways involved in the biodegradation of aromatic compounds in a metagenomic library obtained from an oil reservoir. Although many of the deduced proteins shared homology with known enzymes of different well-described aerobic and anaerobic catabolic pathways, the metagenomic fragments did not contain the complete clusters known to be involved in hydrocarbon degradation. Instead, the metagenomic fragments comprised genes belonging to different pathways, showing novel gene arrangements. These results reinforce the potential of the metagenomic approach for the identification and elucidation of new genes and pathways in poorly studied environments and contribute to a broader perspective on the hydrocarbon degradation processes in petroleum reservoirs.
Project description:In petroleum-contaminated aquifers, biodegradation is always associated with various types of microbial metabolism. It can be classified as autotrophic (such as methanogenic and other carbon fixation) and heterotrophic (such as nitrate/sulfate reduction and hydrocarbon consumption) metabolism. For each metabolic type, there are several key genes encoding the reaction enzymes, which can be identified by metagenomics analysis. Based on this principle, in an abnormally low dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) petroleum-contaminated aquifer in North China, nine groundwater samples were collected along the groundwater flow, and metagenomics analysis was used to discover biodegradation related metabolism by key genes. The major new finding is that autotrophic metabolism was revealed, and, more usefully, we attempt to explain the reasons for abnormally low DIC. The results show that the methanogenesis gene, Mcr, was undetected but more carbon fixation genes than nitrate reduction and sulfate genes were found. This suggests that there may be a considerable number of autotrophic microorganisms that cause the phenomenon of low concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon in contaminated areas. The metagenomics data also revealed that most heterotrophic, sulfate, and nitrate reduction genes in the aquifer were assimilatory sulfate and dissimilatory nitrate reduction genes. Although there was limited dissolved oxygen, aerobic degrading genes AlkB and Cdo were more abundant than anaerobic degrading genes AssA and BssA. The metagenomics information can enrich our microorganic knowledge about petroleum-contaminated aquifers and provide basic data for further bioremediation.
Project description:Metagenomics is an important method for studying microbial life. However, undergraduate exposure to metagenomics is hindered by associated software, computing demands, and dataset access. In this inquiry-based activity designed for introductory life science majors and nonmajors, students perform an investigation of the bacterial communities inhabiting the human belly button and associated metagenomics data collected through a citizen science project and visualized using an open-access bioinformatics tool. The activity is designed for attainment of the following student learning outcomes: defining terms associated with metagenomics analyses, describing the biological impact of the microbiota on human health, formulating a hypothesis, analyzing and interpreting metagenomics data to compare microbiota, evaluating a specific hypothesis, and synthesizing a conceptual model as to why bacterial populations vary. This activity was implemented in six introductory biology and biotechnology courses across five institutions. Attainment of student learning outcomes was assessed through completion of a quiz and students' presentations of their findings. In presentations, students demonstrated their ability to develop novel hypotheses and analyze and interpret metagenomic data to evaluate their hypothesis. In quizzes, students demonstrated their ability to define key terms and describe the biological impact of the microbiota on human health. Student learning gains assessment also revealed that students perceived gains for all student learning outcomes. Collectively, our assessment demonstrates achievement of the learning outcomes and supports the utility of this inquiry-based activity to engage undergraduates in the scientific process via analyses of metagenomics datasets and associated exploration of a microbial community that lives on the human body.
Project description:The aim of the present study was to reveal how different microbial communities evolve in diesel fuel/crude oil-contaminated environments under aerobic and microaerobic conditions. To investigate this question, aerobic and microaerobic bacterial enrichments amended with a diesel fuel/crude oil mixture were established and analysed. The representative aerobic enrichment community was dominated by Gammaproteobacteria (64.5%) with high an abundance of Betaproteobacteriales (36.5%), followed by Alphaproteobacteria (8.7%), Actinobacteria (5.6%), and Candidatus Saccharibacteria (4.5%). The most abundant alkane monooxygenase (alkB) genotypes in this enrichment could be linked to members of the genus Rhodococcus and to a novel Gammaproteobacterium, for which we generated a high-quality draft genome using genome-resolved metagenomics of the enrichment culture. Contrarily, in the microaerobic enrichment, Gammaproteobacteria (99%) overwhelmingly dominated the microbial community with a high abundance of the genera Acinetobacter (66.3%), Pseudomonas (11%) and Acidovorax (11%). Under microaerobic conditions, the vast majority of alkB gene sequences could be linked to Pseudomonas veronii. Consequently, results shed light on the fact that the excellent aliphatic hydrocarbon degrading Rhodococcus species favour clear aerobic conditions, while oxygen-limited conditions can facilitate the high abundance of Acinetobacter species in aliphatic hydrocarbon-contaminated subsurface environments.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Pockmarks (depressions in the seabed) have been discovered throughout the world's oceans and are often related to hydrocarbon seepage. Although high concentrations of pockmarks are present in the seabed overlaying the Troll oil and gas reservoir in the northern North Sea, geological surveys have not detected hydrocarbon seepage in this area at the present time. In this study we have used metagenomics to characterize the prokaryotic communities inhabiting the surface sediments in the Troll area in relation to geochemical parameters, particularly related to hydrocarbon presence. We also investigated the possibility of increased potential for methane oxidation related to the pockmarks. Five metagenomes from pockmarks and plain seabed sediments were sequenced by pyrosequencing (Roche/454) technology. In addition, two metagenomes from seabed sediments geologically unlikely to be influenced by hydrocarbon seepage (the Oslofjord) were included. The taxonomic distribution and metabolic potential of the metagenomes were analyzed by multivariate analysis and statistical comparisons to reveal variation within and between the two sampling areas. RESULTS: The main difference identified between the two sampling areas was an overabundance of predominantly autotrophic nitrifiers, especially Nitrosopumilus, and oligotrophic marine Gammaproteobacteria in the Troll metagenomes compared to the Oslofjord. Increased potential for degradation of hydrocarbons, especially aromatic hydrocarbons, was detected in two of the Troll samples: one pockmark sample and one from the plain seabed. Although presence of methanotrophic organisms was indicated in all samples, no overabundance in pockmark samples compared to the Oslofjord samples supports no, or only low level, methane seepage in the Troll pockmarks at the present time. CONCLUSIONS: Given the relatively low content of total organic carbon and great depths of hydrocarbon containing sediments in the Troll area, it is possible that at least part of the carbon source available for the predominantly autotrophic nitrifiers thriving in this area originates from sequential prokaryotic degradation and oxidation of hydrocarbons to CO2. By turning CO2 back into organic carbon this subcommunity could play an important environmental role in these dark oligotrophic sediments. The oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate in this process could further increase the supply of terminal electron acceptors for hydrocarbon degradation.
Project description:Whole-genome shotgun metagenomics experiments produce DNA sequence data from entire ecosystems, and provide a huge amount of novel information. Gene discovery projects require up-to-date information about sequence homology and domain structure for millions of predicted proteins to be presented in a simple, easy-to-use system. There is a lack of simple, open, flexible tools that allow the rapid sharing of metagenomics datasets with collaborators in a format they can easily interrogate. We present Meta4, a flexible and extensible web application that can be used to share and annotate metagenomic gene predictions. Proteins and predicted domains are stored in a simple relational database, with a dynamic front-end which displays the results in an internet browser. Web services are used to provide up-to-date information about the proteins from homology searches against public databases. Information about Meta4 can be found on the project website, code is available on Github, a cloud image is available, and an example implementation can be seen at.