Quantitative PCR (qPCR) and community fingerprinting methods, such as the Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis,are well-suited techniques for the examination of microbial community structures. The use of phylum and class-specific primers can provide enhanced sensitivity and phylogenetic resolution as compared with domain-specific primers. To date, several phylum- and class-specific primers targeting the 16S ribosomal RNA gene have been published. However, many of these primers exhibit low discriminatory power against non-target bacteria in PCR. In this study, we evaluated the precision of certain published primers in silico and via specific PCR. We designed new qPCR and T-RFLP primer pairs (for the classes Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria, and the phyla Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria) by combining the sequence information from a public dataset (SILVA SSU Ref 102 NR) with manual primer design. We evaluated the primer pairs via PCR using isolates of the above-mentioned groups and via screening of clone libraries from environmental soil samples and human faecal samples. As observed through theoretical and practical evaluation, the primers developed in this study showed a higher level of precision than previously published primers, thus allowing a deeper insight into microbial community dynamics.
The bacterial endophytic microbiome promotes plant growth and health and beneficial effects are in many cases mediated and characterized by metabolic interactions. Recent advances have been made in regard to metabolite production by plant microsymbionts showing that they may produce a range of different types of metabolites. These substances play a role in defense and competition, but may also be needed for specific interaction and communication with the plant host. Furthermore, few examples of bilateral metabolite production are known and endophytes may modulate plant metabolite synthesis as well. We have just started to understand such metabolic interactions between plants and endophytes, however, further research is needed to more efficiently make use of beneficial plant-microbe interactions and to reduce pathogen infestation as well as to reveal novel bioactive substances of commercial interest.
The Ascomycota species Phaeomoniella chlamydospora, in concert with other fungi, is a causal agent for grapevine trunk diseases. Here, we present the first draft of the P. chlamydospora genome sequence, which comprises 355 scaffolds, with a total length of 26.59 Mb and 7,279 predicted protein-coding genes.
Cadmium usually hampers plant growth, but bacterial inoculation may improve stress tolerance in plants to Cd by involving various mechanisms. The objective was to characterize and identify bacteria that improve plant growth under Cd stress and reduce Cd uptake. Cadmium-tolerant bacteria were isolated from rhizosphere soil, which was irrigated with tannery effluent, and six strains were selected as highly tolerant to Cd, showing minimum inhibitory concentration as 500 mg L(-1) or 4.45 mmol L(-1). These strains were identified by 16S rRNA gene analysis and functional analysis in regard to plant growth promotion characteristics. To determine their effect on cereal growth under Cd stress, seeds were inoculated with these strains individually and grown in soil contaminated with three Cd levels (0, 40 and 80 mg kg(-1)). Biomass production, relative water content (RWC), electrolyte leakage (ELL) and tissue Cd concentration were measured. Biomass of both cereals was inhibited strongly when exposed to Cd; however, bacterial inoculation significantly reduced the suppressive effect of Cd on cereal growth and physiology. The bacterial isolates belonged to the genera Klebsiella, Stenotrophomonas, Bacillus and Serratia. Maize was more sensitive than wheat to Cd. Klebsiella sp. strain CIK-502 had the most pronounced effects in promoting maize and wheat growth and lowering Cd uptake under Cd stress.
Recently, there has been an increased effort to enhance the efficacy of phytoremediation of contaminated environments by exploiting plant-microbe interactions. The combined use of plants and endophytic bacteria is an emerging approach for the clean-up of soil and water polluted with organic compounds. In plant-endophyte partnerships, plants provide the habitat as well as nutrients to their associated endophytic bacteria. In response, endophytic bacteria with appropriate degradation pathways and metabolic activities enhance degradation of organic pollutants, and diminish phytotoxicity and evapotranspiration of organic pollutants. Moreover, endophytic bacteria possessing plant growth-promoting activities enhance the plant's adaptation and growth in soil and water contaminated with organic pollutants. Overall, the application of endophytic bacteria gives new insights into novel protocols to improve phytoremediation efficiency. However, successful application of plant-endophyte partnerships for the clean-up of an environment contaminated with organic compounds depends on the abundance and activity of the degrading endophyte in different plant compartments. Although many endophytic bacteria have the potential to degrade organic pollutants and improve plant growth, their contribution to enhance phytoremediation efficiency is still underestimated. A better knowledge of plant-endophyte interactions could be utilized to increase the remediation of polluted soil environments and to protect the foodstuff by decreasing agrochemical residues in food crops.
Little is understood about the relationship between microbial assemblage history, the composition and function of specific functional guilds and the ecosystem functions they provide. To learn more about this relationship we used methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB) as model organisms and performed soil microcosm experiments comprised of identical soil substrates, hosting distinct overall microbial diversities(i.e., full, reduced and zero total microbial and MOB diversities). After inoculation with undisturbed soil, the recovery of MOB activity, MOB diversity and total bacterial diversity were followed over 3 months by methane oxidation potential measurements and analyses targeting pmoA and 16S rRNA genes. Measurement of methane oxidation potential demonstrated different recovery rates across the different treatments. Despite different starting microbial diversities, the recovery and succession of the MOB communities followed a similar pattern across the different treatment microcosms. In this study we found that edaphic parameters were the dominant factor shaping microbial communities over time and that the starting microbial community played only a minor role in shaping MOB microbial community.
Here, we report the surprising and, to our knowledge, unique example of horizontal interkingdom transfer of a human opportunistic pathogen (Propionibacterium acnes) to a crop plant (the domesticated grapevine Vitis vinifera L.). Humans, like most organisms, have established a long-lasting cohabitation with a variety of microbes, including pathogens and gut-associated bacteria. Studies which have investigated the dynamics of such associations revealed numerous cases of bacterial host switches from domestic animals to humans. Much less is, however, known about the exchange of microbial symbionts between humans and plants. Fluorescent in situ hybridization localized P. acnes in the bark, in xylem fibers, and, more interestingly, inside pith tissues. Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses suggest that the establishment of the grapevine-associated P. acnes as obligate endophyte is compatible with a recent transfer event, likely during the Neolithic, when grapevine was domesticated.
The sensitivity of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor technology for detection of bacterial analytes is investigated as a function of (a) sample flow conditions and (b) depth of probing electromagnetic field. These parameters are extremely important as such analytes exhibit large (of around micrometer) size which significantly hinders their diffusion-driven transfer from a liquid sample to the sensor and their subsequent specific capture by attached recognition elements. This is due to small diffusion coefficient and strong shear stress that decreases the stability of bonds between the bacterium specific epitope and recognition elements immobilized at the sensor surface. The importance of accurate control of sample flow conditions and probing depth in order to maximize SPR sensor response is experimentally demonstrated and supported by an analytical theory. The tuning of the probing depth of surface plasmon evanescent field to match the size of the target analyte is pursued by using long range surface plasmons.
A Gram-reaction-negative, yellow-pigmented strain, designated EX36(T), was characterized using a polyphasic approach comprising phylogenetic, morphological and genotypic analyses. The endophytic strain was isolated from Zn/Cd-accumulating Salix caprea in Arnoldstein, Austria. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene demonstrated that the novel strain is most closely related to members of the genus Spirosoma (95?% sequence similarity with Spirosoma linguale). The genomic DNA G+C content was 47.2 mol%. The predominant quinone was and the major cellular fatty acids were summed feature 3 (iso-C15?:?0 2-OH and/or C16?:?1?7c), C16?:?1?5c, iso-C17?:?0 3-OH and iso-C15?:?0. On the basis of its phenotypic and genotypic properties, strain EX36(T) should be classified as a novel species of the genus Spirosoma, for which the name Spirosoma endophyticum sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is EX36(T) (?=?DSM 26130(T)?=?LMG 27272(T)).
The bioavailability of metals in soil is often cited as a limiting factor of phytoextraction (or phytomining). Bacterial metabolites, such as organic acids, siderophores, or biosurfactants, have been shown to mobilize metals, and their use to improve metal extraction has been proposed. In this study, the weathering capacities of, and Ni mobilization by, bacterial strains were evaluated. Minimal medium containing ground ultramafic rock was inoculated with either of two Arthrobacter strains: LA44 (indole acetic acid [IAA] producer) or SBA82 (siderophore producer, PO4 solubilizer, and IAA producer). Trace elements and organic compounds were determined in aliquots taken at different time intervals after inoculation. Trace metal fractionation was carried out on the remaining rock at the end of the experiment. The results suggest that the strains act upon different mineral phases. LA44 is a more efficient Ni mobilizer, apparently solubilizing Ni associated with Mn oxides, and this appeared to be related to oxalate production. SBA82 also leads to release of Ni and Mn, albeit to a much lower extent. In this case, the concurrent mobilization of Fe and Si indicates preferential weathering of Fe oxides and serpentine minerals, possibly related to the siderophore production capacity of the strain. The same bacterial strains were tested in a soil-plant system: the Ni hyperaccumulator Alyssum serpyllifolium subsp. malacitanum was grown in ultramafic soil in a rhizobox system and inoculated with each bacterial strain. At harvest, biomass production and shoot Ni concentrations were higher in plants from inoculated pots than from noninoculated pots. Ni yield was significantly enhanced in plants inoculated with LA44. These results suggest that Ni-mobilizing inoculants could be useful for improving Ni uptake by hyperaccumulator plants.
The genus Burkholderia is composed of functionally diverse species, and it can be divided into several clusters. One of these, designated the plant-beneficial-environmental (PBE) Burkholderia cluster, is formed by nonpathogenic species, which in most cases have been found to be associated with plants. It was previously established that members of the PBE group share an N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum-sensing (QS) system, designated BraI/R, that produces and responds to 3-oxo-C14-HSL (OC14-HSL). Moreover, some of them also possess a second AHL QS system, designated XenI2/R2, producing and responding to 3-hydroxy-C8-HSL (OHC8-HSL). In the present study, we performed liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) analysis to determine which AHL molecules are produced by each QS system of this group of bacteria. The results showed that XenI2/R2 is mainly responsible for the production of OHC8-HSL and that the BraI/R system is involved in the production of several different AHLs. This analysis also revealed that Burkholderia phymatum STM815 produces greater amounts of AHLs than the other species tested. Further studies showed that the BraR protein of B. phymatum is more promiscuous than other BraR proteins, responding equally well to several different AHL molecules, even at low concentrations. Transcriptome studies with Burkholderia xenovorans LB400 and B. phymatum STM815 revealed that the BraI/R regulon is species specific, with exopolysaccharide production being the only common phenotype regulated by this system in the PBE cluster. In addition, BraI/R was shown not to be important for plant nodulation by B. phymatum strains or for endophytic colonization and growth promotion of maize by B. phytofirmans PsJN.
This report summarizes the events of the 1(st) International Functional Metagenomics Workshop. The workshop was held on May 7 and 8, 2012, in St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada and was focused on building an international functional metagenomics community, exploring strategic research areas, and identifying opportunities for future collaboration and funding. The workshop was initiated by researchers at the University of Waterloo with support from the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the University of Waterloo.
Nucleic acid-based techniques represent a promising alternative to cultivation-based microbial water quality assessment methods. However, their application is hampered by their innate inability to differentiate between living and dead organisms. Propidium monoazide (PMA) treatment was proposed as an efficient approach for alleviating this limitation. In this study, we demonstrate the performance of PMA-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for the detection of indicator organisms (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) in a background of a highly abundant and complex microflora. Treatment with 10 ?M PMA resulted in the complete or significant reduction of the false positive signal arising from the amplification of DNA from dead cells.
There is growing evidence of a direct relationship between microbial community composition and function, which implies that distinct microbial communities vary in their functional properties. The aim of this study was to determine whether differences in initial substrate utilization between distinct microbial communities are due to the activities of certain microbial groups. We performed a short-term experiment with beech forest soils characterized by three different microbial communities (winter and summer community, and a community from a tree-girdling plot). We incubated these soils with different (13) C-labelled substrates with or without inorganic N addition and analyzed microbial substrate utilization by (13) C-phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. Our results revealed that the fate of labile C (glucose) was similar in the three microbial communities, despite differences in absolute substrate incorporation between the summer and winter community. The active microbial community involved in degradation of complex C substrates (cellulose, plant cell walls), however, differed between girdling and control plots and was strongly affected by inorganic N addition. Enhanced N availability strongly increased fungal degradation of cellulose and plant cell walls. Our results indicate that fungi, at least in the presence of a high N supply, are the main decomposers of polymeric C substrates.
Six independent Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, non-spore-forming, nitrogen-fixing rod-shaped isolates were obtained from the root endosphere of rice grown at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and investigated in a polyphasic taxonomic study.
Substrate quality and the availability of nutrients are major factors controlling microbial decomposition processes in soils. Seasonal alteration in resource availability, which is driven by plants via belowground C allocation, nutrient uptake and litter fall, also exerts effects on soil microbial community composition. Here we investigate if seasonal and experimentally induced changes in microbial community composition lead to alterations in functional properties of microbial communities and thus microbial processes. Beech forest soils characterized by three distinct microbial communities (winter and summer community, and summer community from a tree girdling plot, in which belowground carbon allocation was interrupted) were incubated with different (13)C-labeled substrates with or without inorganic N supply and analyzed for substrate use and various microbial processes. Our results clearly demonstrate that the three investigated microbial communities differed in their functional response to addition of various substrates. The winter communities revealed a higher capacity for degradation of complex C substrates (cellulose, plant cell walls) than the summer communities, indicated by enhanced cellulase activities and reduced mineralization of soil organic matter. In contrast, utilization of labile C sources (glucose) was lower in winter than in summer, demonstrating that summer and winter community were adapted to the availability of different substrates. The saprotrophic community established in girdled plots exhibited a significantly higher utilization of complex C substrates than the more plant root associated community in control plots if additional nitrogen was provided. In this study we were able to demonstrate experimentally that variation in resource availability as well as seasonality in temperate forest soils cause a seasonal variation in functional properties of soil microorganisms, which is due to shifts in community structure and physiological adaptations of microbial communities to altered resource supply.
Phytoextraction makes use of trace element-accumulating plants that concentrate the pollutants in their tissues. Pollutants can be then removed by harvesting plants. The success of phytoextraction depends on trace element availability to the roots and the ability of the plant to intercept, take up, and accumulate trace elements in shoots. Current phytoextraction practises either employ hyperaccumulators or fast-growing high biomass plants; the phytoextraction process may be enhanced by soil amendments that increase trace element availability in the soil. This review will focus on the role of plant-associated bacteria to enhance trace element availability in the rhizosphere. We report on the kind of bacteria typically found in association with trace element - tolerating or - accumulating plants and discuss how they can contribute to improve trace element uptake by plants and thus the efficiency and rate of phytoextraction. This enhanced trace element uptake can be attributed to a microbial modification of the absorptive properties of the roots such as increasing the root length and surface area and numbers of root hairs, or by increasing the plant availability of trace elements in the rhizosphere and the subsequent translocation to shoots via beneficial effects on plant growth, trace element complexation and alleviation of phytotoxicity. An analysis of data from literature shows that effects of bacterial inoculation on phytoextraction efficiency are currently inconsistent. Some key processes in plant-bacteria interactions and colonization by inoculated strains still need to be unravelled more in detail to allow full-scale application of bacteria assisted phytoremediation of trace element contaminated soils.
Different regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene evolve at different evolutionary rates. The scientific outcome of short read sequencing studies therefore alters with the gene region sequenced. We wanted to gain insight in the impact of primer choice on the outcome of short read sequencing efforts. All the unknowns associated with sequencing data, i.e. primer coverage rate, phylogeny, OTU-richness and taxonomic assignment, were therefore implemented in one study for ten well established universal primers (338f/r, 518f/r, 799f/r, 926f/r and 1062f/r) targeting dispersed regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. All analyses were performed on nearly full length and in silico generated short read sequence libraries containing 1175 sequences that were carefully chosen as to present a representative substitute of the SILVA SSU database. The 518f and 799r primers, targeting the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene, were found to be particularly suited for short read sequencing studies, while the primer 1062r, targeting V6, seemed to be least reliable. Our results will assist scientists in considering whether the best option for their study is to select the most informative primer, or the primer that excludes interferences by host-organelle DNA. The methodology followed can be extrapolated to other primers, allowing their evaluation prior to the experiment.
Burkholderia phytofirmans PsJN is a naturally occurring plant-associated bacterial endophyte that effectively colonizes a wide range of plants and stimulates their growth and vitality. Here we analyze whole genomes, of PsJN and of eight other endophytic bacteria. This study illustrates that a wide spectrum of endophytic life styles exists. Although we postulate the existence of typical endophytic traits, no unique gene cluster could be exclusively linked to the endophytic lifestyle. Furthermore, our study revealed a high genetic diversity among bacterial endophytes as reflected in their genotypic and phenotypic features. B. phytofirmans PsJN is in many aspects outstanding among the selected endophytes. It has the biggest genome consisting of two chromosomes and one plasmid, well-equipped with genes for the degradation of complex organic compounds and detoxification, e.g., 24 glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genes. Furthermore, strain PsJN has a high number of cell surface signaling and secretion systems and harbors the 3-OH-PAME quorum-sensing system that coordinates the switch of free-living to the symbiotic lifestyle in the plant-pathogen R. solanacearum. The ability of B. phytofirmans PsJN to successfully colonize such a wide variety of plant species might be based on its large genome harboring a broad range of physiological functions.
We assessed the prevalence of verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) in chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and livestock grazing on a mountain pasture in Austria during June-August 2009. We detected VTEC throughout the sampling period in high numbers in cattle as well as in chamois, leading to the assumption that the degree of contamination of the environment is high. This is the first report of pathogenic E. coli identified in chamois, implicating chamois as a new potential reservoir of these zoonotic pathogens. Because the study area also serves recreational purposes, there is a risk of humans acquiring infection via direct or indirect contact.
Microbial diagnostic microarrays are tools for simultaneous detection and identification of microorganisms in food, clinical, and environmental samples. In comparison to classic methods, microarray-based systems have the potential for high throughput, parallelism, and miniaturization. High specificity and high sensitivity of detection have been demonstrated. A microbial diagnostic microarray for the detection of the most relevant bacterial food- and waterborne pathogens and indicator organisms was developed and thoroughly validated. The microarray platform based on sequence-specific end labeling of oligonucleotides and the phylogenetically robust gyrB marker gene allowed a highly specific (resolution on genus and/or species level) and sensitive (0.1% relative and 10(4) CFU absolute sensitivity) detection of the target pathogens. In initial challenge studies of the applicability of microarray-based food analysis, we obtained results demonstrating the questionable specificity of standardized culture-dependent microbiological detection methods. Taking into consideration the importance of reliable food safety assessment methods, comprehensive performance assessment is essential. Results demonstrate the potential of this new pathogen diagnostic microarray to evaluate culture-based standard methods in microbiological food analysis.
Soil microbes in temperate forest ecosystems are able to cycle several hundreds of kilograms of N per hectare per year and are therefore of paramount importance for N retention. Belowground C allocation by trees is an important driver of seasonal microbial dynamics and may thus directly affect N transformation processes over the course of the year. Our study aimed at unraveling plant controls on soil N cycling in a temperate beech forest at a high temporal resolution over a time period of two years, by investigating the effects of tree girdling on microbial N turnover. In both years of the experiment, we discovered (1) a summer N mineralization phase (between July and August) and (2) a winter N immobilization phase (November-February). The summer mineralization phase was characterized by a high N mineralization activity, low microbial N uptake, and a subsequent high N availability in the soil. During the autumn/winter N immobilization phase, gross N mineralization rates were low, and microbial N uptake exceeded microbial N mineralization, which led to high levels of N in the microbial biomass and low N availability in the soil. The observed immobilization phase during the winter may play a crucial role for ecosystem functioning, since it could protect dissolved N that is produced by autumn litter degradation from being lost from the ecosystem during the phase when plants are mostly inactive. The difference between microbial biomass N levels in winter and spring equals 38 kg N/ha and may thus account for almost one-third of the annual plant N demand. Tree girdling strongly affected annual N cycling: the winter N immobilization phase disappeared in girdled plots (microbial N uptake and microbial biomass N were significantly reduced, while the amount of available N in the soil solution was enhanced). This was correlated to a reduced fungal abundance in autumn in girdled plots. By releasing recently fixed photosynthates to the soil, plants may thus actively control the annual microbial N cycle. Tree belowground C allocation increases N accumulation in microorganisms during the winter which may ultimately feed back on plant N availability in the following growing season.
Although fungi contribute significantly to the microbial biomass in terrestrial ecosystems, little is known about their contribution to biogeochemical nitrogen cycles. Agricultural soils usually contain comparably high amounts of inorganic nitrogen, mainly in the form of nitrate. Many studies focused on bacterial and archaeal turnover of nitrate by nitrification, denitrification and assimilation, whereas the fungal role remained largely neglected. To enable research on the fungal contribution to the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle tools for monitoring the presence and expression of fungal assimilatory nitrate reductase genes were developed. To the ~100 currently available fungal full-length gene sequences, another 109 partial sequences were added by amplification from individual culture isolates, representing all major orders occurring in agricultural soils. The extended database led to the discovery of new horizontal gene transfer events within the fungal kingdom. The newly developed PCR primers were used to study gene pools and gene expression of fungal nitrate reductases in agricultural soils. The availability of the extended database allowed affiliation of many sequences to known species, genera or families. Energy supply by a carbon source seems to be the major regulator of nitrate reductase gene expression for fungi in agricultural soils, which is in good agreement with the high energy demand of complete reduction of nitrate to ammonium.
Burkholderia phytofirmans PsJN(T) is able to efficiently colonize the rhizosphere, root, and above-ground plant tissues of a wide variety of genetically unrelated plants, such as potatoes, canola, maize, and grapevines. Strain PsJN shows strong plant growth-promoting effects and was reported to enhance plant vigor and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here, we report the genome sequence of this strain, which indicates the presence of multiple traits relevant for endophytic colonization and plant growth promotion.
Although the beneficial effects on growth and trace element accumulation in Salix spp. inoculated with microbes are well known, little information is available on the interactions among trace elements and macronutrients. The main purpose of this study was to assess the effect of phytoaugmentation with the rhizobacteria Agromyces sp., Streptomyces sp., and the combination of each of them with the fungus Cadophora finlandica on biomass production and the accumulation of selected trace elements (Zn, Cd, Fe) and macronutrients (Ca, K, P and Mg) in Salix caprea grown on a moderately polluted soil. Dry matter production was significantly enhanced only upon inoculation with Agromyces sp. Regarding the phytoextraction of Cd and Zn, shoot concentrations were mostly increased after inoculation with Streptomyces sp. and Agromyces sp. + C. finlandica. These two treatments also showed higher translocation factors from roots to the leaves for both Cd and Zn. The accumulation of Cd and Zn in shoots was related to increased concentrations of K. This suggests that microorganisms that contribute to enhanced phytoextraction of Cd and Zn affect also the solubility and thus phytoavailability of K. This study suggests that the phytoextraction of Zn and Cd can be improved by inoculation with selected microbial strains.
Microbial diagnostic microarrays (MDMs) are highly parallel hybridization platforms containing multiple sets of immobilized oligonucleotide probes used for parallel detection and identification of many different microorganisms in environmental and clinical samples. Each probe is approximately specific to a given group of organisms. Here we describe the protocol used to develop and validate an MDM method for the semiquantification of a range of functional genes--in this case, particulate methane monooxygenase (pmoA)--and we give an example of its application to the study of the community structure of methanotrophs and functionally related bacteria in the environment. The development and validation of an MDM, following this protocol, takes ?6 months. The pmoA MDM described in detail comprises 199 probes and addresses ?50 different species-level clades. An experiment comprising 24 samples can be completed, from DNA extraction to data acquisition, within 3 d (12-13 h bench work).
In this study, the effects of plant genotype, soil type and nutrient use efficiency on the composition of different bacterial communities associated with rice roots were investigated. Thus, total bacteria, Alpha- and Betaproteobacteria, Pseudomonas and Actinobacteria were studied using PCR, followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Rice genotype determined, to a large extent, the composition of the different bacterial communities across cultivars. Several cultivars belonging to Oryza sativa ssp. indica tended to select similar bacterial communities, whereas those belonging to subspecies japonica and aromatica selected ones with divergent community structures. An effect of soil type was pronounced for the Actinobacteria communities, while a small effect of improved and traditional plants was noted for all communities analyzed. A few dominant bands in PCR-DGGE, affiliated with Rhizobium radiobacter, Dickeya zeae, Mycobacterium bolletii and with members of the Rhizobiales, Rhodospirillaceae and Paenibacillaceae, were spread across cultivars. In contrast, a majority of bands (e.g. affiliated with Enterobacter cloacae or Burkholderia kururiensis) was only present in particular cultivars or was erratically distributed among rice replicates. These findings suggested that both bacterial adaptation and plant genotype contribute to the shaping of the dynamic bacterial communities associated with roots of rice plants.
Deamination of the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) is a key plant-beneficial trait found in many plant growth-promoting bacteria. In this study, we analysed ACC deaminase genes (acdS) of bacterial endophytes colonizing field-grown potato plants. PCR analysis revealed the presence of two types of acdS genes, the dominant one showing high homology to an acdS gene derived from Pseudomonas fluorescens. Construction, functional screening and sequence analysis of metagenomic libraries revealed clones containing the acdS gene identified in the PCR library. Sequence analysis of one metagenomic clone identified the entire acdS operon of an uncultivated endophyte and revealed that the acdS gene is coupled upstream with an acdR transcriptional regulator gene as previously found in P. putida strain UW4 (Grichko and Glick 2000). However, in-silico analysis of 195 fully sequenced, acdS-containing bacterial genomes revealed that the majority of strains, including numerous strains belonging to the genus Pseudomonas, do not contain an acdR regulatory gene in the vicinity of the acdS gene or elsewhere in the genome. The acdR (+)-acdS (+) operon was exclusively found in several Alpha- and Betaproteobacteria most prominently in the genus Burkholderia.
Plant roots strongly influence C and N availability in the rhizosphere via rhizodeposition and uptake of nutrients. This study aimed at investigating the effect of resource availability on microbial processes and community structure in the rhizosphere. We analyzed C and N availability, as well as microbial processes and microbial community composition in rhizosphere soil of European beech and compared it to the bulk soil. Additionally, we performed a girdling experiment in order to disrupt root exudation into the soil. By this novel approach we were able to demonstrate that enhanced resource availability positively affected N mineralization and hydrolytic enzyme activities in the rhizosphere, but negatively affected nitrification rates and oxidative enzyme activities, which are involved in the degradation of soil organic matter. Both rhizosphere effects on N mineralization and oxidative enzyme activities disappeared in the girdling treatment. Microbial community structure in the rhizosphere, assessed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis, differed only slightly from bulk soil but was markedly altered by the girdling treatment, indicating additional effects of the girdling treatment beyond the reduction of root exudation. Differences in oxidative enzyme activities and nitrification rates between rhizosphere soil and bulk soil, however, suggest considerable differences in the (functional) microbial community composition.
The genus Enterobacter comprises a range of beneficial plant-associated bacteria showing plant growth promotion. Enterobacter ludwigii belongs to the Enterobacter cloacae complex and has been reported to include human pathogens but also plant-associated strains with plant beneficial capacities. To assess the role of Enterobacter endophytes in hydrocarbon degradation, plant colonization, abundance and expression of CYP153 genes in different plant compartments, three plant species (Italian ryegrass, birdsfoot trefoil and alfalfa) were grown in sterile soil spiked with 1% diesel and inoculated with three endophytic E. ludwigii strains. Results showed that all strains were capable of hydrocarbon degradation and efficiently colonized the rhizosphere and plant interior. Two strains, ISI10-3 and BRI10-9, showed highest degradation rates of diesel fuel up to 68% and performed best in combination with Italian ryegrass and alfalfa. All strains expressed the CYP153 gene in all plant compartments, indicating an active role in degradation of diesel in association with plants.
Biochemical processes relevant to soil nitrogen (N) cycling are performed by soil microorganisms affiliated with diverse phylogenetic groups. For example, the oxidation of ammonia, representing the first step of nitrification, can be performed by ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and, as recently reported, also by ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA). However, the contribution to ammonia oxidation of the phylogenetically separated AOA versus AOB and their respective responsiveness to environmental factors are still poorly understood. The present study aims at comparing the capacity of AOA and AOB to momentarily respond to N input and increased soil moisture in two contrasting forest soils. Soils from the pristine Rothwald forest and the managed Schottenwald forest were amended with either NH(4)(+)-N or NO(3)(-)-N and were incubated at 40% and 70% water-filled pore space (WFPS) for four days. Nitrification rates were measured and AOA and AOB abundance and community composition were determined via quantitative PCR (qPCR) and terminal restriction length fragment polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of bacterial and archaeal amoA genes. Our study reports rapid and distinct changes in AOA and AOB abundances in the two forest soils in response to N input and increased soil moisture but no significant effects on net nitrification rates. Functional microbial communities differed significantly in the two soils and responded specifically to the treatments during the short-term incubation. In the Rothwald soil the abundance and community composition of AOA were affected by the water content, whereas AOB communities responded to N amendment. In the Schottenwald soil, by contrast, AOA responded to N addition. These results suggest that AOA and AOB may be selectively influenced by soil and management factors.
A new biosensor platform for the detection of bacterial pathogens based on long-range surface plasmon-enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy (LRSP-FS) is presented. The resonant excitation of LRSP modes provides an enhanced intensity of the electromagnetic field, which is directly translated to an increased strength of fluorescence signal measured upon the capture of target analyte at the sensor surface. LRSPs originate from a coupling of surface plasmons across a thin metallic film embedded in dielectrics with similar refractive indices. With respect to regular surface plasmon-enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy, the excitation of LRSPs offers the advantage of a larger enhancement of the evanescent field intensity and a micrometer probing depth that is comparable to the size of target bacterial pathogens. The potential of the developed sensor platform is demonstrated in an experiment in which the detection of E. coli O157:H7 was carried out using sandwich immunoassays. The limit of detection below 10 cfu mL(-1) and detection time of 40 min were achieved.
Endophytic bacteria can colonize various plants and organs. However, endophytes colonizing plant reproductive organs have been rarely analyzed. In this study, endophytes colonizing flowers as well as berries and seeds of grapevine plants grown under natural conditions were investigated by cultivation as well as by fluorescence in situ hybridization. For comparison, bacteria were additionally isolated from other plant parts and the rhizosphere and characterized. Flowers, fruits, and seeds hosted various endophytic bacteria. Some taxa were specifically isolated from plant reproductive organs, whereas others were also detected in the rhizosphere, endorhiza or grape inflo/infructescence stalk at the flowering or berry harvest stage. Microscopic analysis by fluorescence in situ hybridization of resin-embedded samples confirmed the presence of the isolated taxa in plant reproductive organs and enabled us to localize them within the plant. Gammaproteobacteria (including Pseudomonas spp.) and Firmicutes (including Bacillus spp.) were visualized inside the epidermis and xylem of ovary and/or inside flower ovules. Firmicutes, mainly Bacillus spp. were additionally visualized inside berries, in the intercellular spaces of pulp cells and/or xylem of pulp, but also along some cell walls inside parts of seeds. Analysis of cultivable bacteria as well as microscopic results indicated that certain endophytic bacteria can colonize flowers, berries, or seeds. Our results also indicated that some specific taxa may not only derive from the root environment but also from other sources such as the anthosphere.
Several outbreaks caused by pathogenic bacteria are related to the consumption of raw produce contaminated by animal manure. The majority of these outbreaks have been linked to Salmonella spp. We examined the ability of Salmonella enterica serovar Weltevreden to persist and survive in manure and soil as well as disseminate to, and persist on, spinach roots and leaves. Significantly higher numbers of S. Weltevreden inoculated into manure and applied to soil before planting spinach were found in soil than in pot cultures, where the pathogen had been inoculated directly into soil 14 days postplanting. Moreover, the pathogen seemed to disperse from manure to spinach roots, as we observed a continuous increase in the number of contaminated replicate pot cultures throughout the evaluation period. We also found that, in some cases, S. Weltevreden present in the phyllosphere had the ability to persist for the entire evaluation period (21 days), with only slight reductions in cell numbers. The results from the present study show that S. Weltevreden is capable of persisting in soil, roots and shoots for prolonged periods, indicating the importance of strict monitoring of untreated animal manure before considering its application to agricultural land.
The combined use of plants and associated microorganisms has great potential for cleaning up soils contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Apart from environmental conditions the physicochemical properties of the soil are the main factors influencing the survival and activity of an inoculated strain as well as the growth of plants. This study examined the effect of different soil types (sandy, loamy sand and loam) on the survival, gene abundance and catabolic gene expression of two inoculated strains (Pseudomonas sp. strain ITRI53 and Pantoea sp. strain BTRH79) in the rhizosphere and shoot interior of Italian ryegrass vegetated in diesel contaminated soils. High colonization, gene abundance and expression in loamy soils were observed. By contrast, low colonization, gene abundance and absence of gene expression in sandy soil were found. The highest levels of genes expression and hydrocarbon degradation were seen in loamy soil that had been inoculated with BTRH79 and were significantly higher compared to those in other soils. A positive correlation was observed between gene expression and hydrocarbon degradation indicating that catabolic gene expression is necessary for contaminant degradation. These results suggest that soil type influences the bacterial colonization and microbial activities and subsequently the efficiency of contaminant degradation.
Oxidation of ammonia by nitrifying microorganisms is a major pathway that fertilizer nitrogen (N) may take upon application to agricultural soils, but the relative roles of bacterial (AOB) vs. archaeal (AOA) ammonia oxidizers are controversial. We explored the effects of various forms of mineral N fertilizer on the AOB and AOA community dynamics in two different soils planted with barley. Ammonia oxidizers were monitored via real-time PCR and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of bacterial and archaeal amoA genes following the addition of either [NH?]?SO?, NH?NO? or KNO?. AOB and AOA communities were also studied specifically in the rhizospheres of two different barley varieties upon [NH?]?SO? vs. KNO? addition. AOB changed in community composition and increased in abundance upon ammonium amendment in bulk soil and rhizosphere, with changes in bacterial amoA copy numbers lagging behind relative to changes in soil ammonium. In both soils, only T-RFs corresponding to phylotypes related to Nitrosospira clade 3a underwent significant community changes. Increases in AOB abundance were generally stronger in the bulk soil than in the rhizosphere, implying significant ammonia uptake by plant roots. AOA underwent shifts in the community composition over time and fluctuated in abundance in all treatments irrespective of ammonia availability. AOB were thus considered as the main agents responsible for fertilizer ammonium oxidation, while the functions of AOA in soil N cycling remain unresolved.
It was hypothesized that seasonality and resource availability altered through tree girdling were major determinants of the phylogenetic composition of the archaeal and bacterial community in a temperate beech forest soil. During a 2-year field experiment, involving girdling of beech trees to intercept the transfer of easily available carbon (C) from the canopy to roots, members of the dominant phylogenetic microbial phyla residing in top soils under girdled versus untreated control trees were monitored at bimonthly intervals through 16S rRNA gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism profiling and quantitative PCR analysis. Effects on nitrifying and denitrifying groups were assessed by measuring the abundances of nirS and nosZ genes as well as bacterial and archaeal amoA genes. Seasonal dynamics displayed by key phylogenetic and nitrogen (N) cycling functional groups were found to be tightly coupled with seasonal alterations in labile C and N pools as well as with variation in soil temperature and soil moisture. In particular, archaea and acidobacteria were highly responsive to soil nutritional and soil climatic changes associated with seasonality, indicating their high metabolic versatility and capability to adapt to environmental changes. For these phyla, significant interrelations with soil chemical and microbial process data were found suggesting their potential, but poorly described contribution to nitrification or denitrification in temperate forest soils. In conclusion, our extensive approach allowed us to get novel insights into effects of seasonality and resource availability on the microbial community, in particular on hitherto poorly studied bacterial phyla and functional groups.
Twenty-six different plant species were analyzed regarding their performance in soil contaminated with petroleum oil. Two well-performing species, Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum var. Taurus), Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus var. Leo) and the combination of these two plants were selected to study the ecology of plant-associated, culturable alkane-degrading bacteria. Hydrocarbon degrading bacteria were isolated from the rhizosphere, root interior and shoot interior and subjected to the analysis of 16S rRNA gene, the 16S and 23S rRNA intergenic spacer region and alkane hydroxylase genes. Furthermore, we investigated whether alkane hydroxylase genes are plasmid located. Higher numbers of culturable, alkane-degrading bacteria were associated with Italian ryegrass, which were also characterized by a higher diversity, particularly in the plant interior. Only half of the isolated bacteria hosted known alkane hydroxylase genes (alkB and cytochrome P153-like). Degradation genes were found both on plasmids as well as in the chromosome. In regard to application of plants for rhizodegradation, where support of numerous degrading bacteria is essential for efficient break-down of pollutants, Italian ryegrass seems to be more appropriate than Birdsfoot trefoil.
*Plant seasonal cycles alter carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) availability for soil microbes, which may affect microbial community composition and thus feed back on microbial decomposition of soil organic material and plant N availability. The temporal dynamics of these plant-soil interactions are, however, unclear. *Here, we experimentally manipulated the C and N availability in a beech forest through N fertilization or tree girdling and conducted a detailed analysis of the seasonal pattern of microbial community composition and decomposition processes over 2 yr. *We found a strong relationship between microbial community composition and enzyme activities over the seasonal course. Phenoloxidase and peroxidase activities were highest during late summer, whereas cellulase and protease peaked in late autumn. Girdling, and thus loss of mycorrhiza, resulted in an increase in soil organic matter-degrading enzymes and a decrease in cellulase and protease activity. *Temporal changes in enzyme activities suggest a switch of the main substrate for decomposition between summer (soil organic matter) and autumn (plant litter). Our results indicate that ectomycorrhizal fungi are possibly involved in autumn cellulase and protease activity. Our study shows that, through belowground C allocation, trees significantly alter soil microbial communities, which may affect seasonal patterns of decomposition processes.
A microbial diagnostic microarray for the detection of the most relevant bacterial food- and water-borne pathogens and indicator organisms was developed and thoroughly validated. The microarray platform based on sequence-specific end labelling of oligonucleotides and the pyhylogenetically robust gyrB marker gene allowed a highly specific (resolution on genus/species level) and sensitive (0.1% relative and 10(4) cfu absolute detection sensitivity) detection of the target pathogens. Validation was performed using a set of reference strains and a set of spiked environmental samples. Reliability of the obtained data was additionally verified by independent analysis of the samples via fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and conventional microbiological reference methods. The applicability of this diagnostic system for food analysis was demonstrated through extensive validation using artificially and naturally contaminated spiked food samples. The microarray-based pathogen detection was compared with the corresponding microbiological reference methods (performed according to the ISO norm). Microarray results revealed high consistency with the reference microbiological data.
It is well known that beneficial plant-associated microorganisms may stimulate plant growth and enhance resistance to disease and abiotic stresses. The effects of climate change factors such as elevated CO(2), drought and warming on beneficial plant-microorganism interactions are increasingly being explored. This now makes it possible to test whether some general patterns occur and whether different groups of plant-associated microorganisms respond differently or in the same way to climate change. Here, we review the results of 135 studies investigating the effects of climate change factors on beneficial microorganisms and their interaction with host plants. The majority of studies showed that elevated CO(2) had a positive influence on the abundance of arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi, whereas the effects on plant growth-promoting bacteria and endophytic fungi were more variable. In most cases, plant-associated microorganisms had a beneficial effect on plants under elevated CO(2). The effects of increased temperature on beneficial plant-associated microorganisms were more variable, positive and neutral, and negative effects were equally common and varied considerably with the study system and the temperature range investigated. Moreover, numerous studies indicated that plant growth-promoting microorganisms (both bacteria and fungi) positively affected plants subjected to drought stress. Overall, this review shows that plant-associated microorganisms are an important factor influencing the response of plants to climate change.
Complete cycling of mineral nitrogen (N) in soil requires the interplay of microorganisms performing nitrification and denitrification, whose activity is increasingly affected by extreme rainfall or heat brought about by climate change. In a pristine forest soil, a gradual increase in soil temperature from 5 to 25 degrees C in a range of water contents stimulated N turnover rates, and N gas emissions were determined by the soil water-filled pore space (WFPS). NO and N(2)O emissions dominated at 30% WFPS and 55% WFPS, respectively, and the step-wise temperature increase resulted in a threefold increase in the NO(3)(-) concentrations and a decrease in the NH(4)(+) concentration. At 70% WFPS, NH(4)(+) accumulated while NO(3)(-) pools declined, indicating gaseous N loss. AmoA- and nirK-gene-based analysis revealed increasing abundance of bacterial ammonia oxidizers (AOB) with increasing soil temperature and a decrease in the abundance of archaeal ammonia oxidizers (AOA) in wet soil at 25 degrees C, suggesting the sensitivity of the latter to anaerobic conditions. Denitrifier (nirK) community structure was most affected by the water content and nirK gene abundance rapidly increased in response to wet conditions until the substrate (NO(3)(-)) became limiting. Shifts in the community structure were most pronounced for nirK and most rapid for AOA, indicating dynamic populations, whereas distinct adaptation of the AOB communities required 5 weeks, suggesting higher stability.
The role of methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB) in alpine environments is poorly understood, but is of importance given the abundance of alpine environments and the role of MOB in the global carbon cycle. Using a combination of approaches we examined both seasonal and land usage effects on the ecology of microbial methane oxidation in an alpine meadow soil. Analysis of the abundance and diversity of MOB demonstrated that the abundance and diversity of the dominant type II MOB, predominantly Metylocystis and relatives, was only influenced by season. Conversely type Ia MOB abundance was significantly affected by season and land usage, while diversity changes were effected predominantly by land use. Assessment of methane oxidation potential and soil physical properties demonstrated a strong link between type Ia MOB abundance and methane oxidation potential as well as a complex series of relationships between soil moisture, pH and MOB abundance, changing with season. The results of this study suggest that, while type II MOB, unaffected by land use, represent the dominant MOB, Methylobacter-related type Ia MOB appear to be responsible for the majority of methane oxidation and are strongly affected by the grazing of cattle.
Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) was applied to differentiate between S. enterica serovar Enteritidis and Typhimurium strains, respectively. Ten and eleven, mainly phage and plasmid-related markers were identified for serovars Enteritidis and Typhimurium. In combination, these markers can be used for subtyping among and within phage types.
For phytoremediation of organic contaminants, plants have to host an efficiently degrading microflora. To assess the role of endophytes in alkane degradation, Italian ryegrass was grown in sterile soil with 0, 1 or 2% diesel and inoculated either with an alkane degrading bacterial strain originally derived from the rhizosphere of Italian ryegrass or with an endophyte. We studied plant colonization of these strains as well as the abundance and expression of alkane monooxygenase (alkB) genes in the rhizosphere, shoot and root interior. Results showed that the endophyte strain better colonized the plant, particularly the plant interior, and also showed higher expression of alkB genes suggesting a more efficient degradation of the pollutant. Furthermore, plants inoculated with the endophyte were better able to grow in the presence of diesel. The rhizosphere strain colonized primarily the rhizosphere and showed low alkB gene expression in the plant interior.
A (13)CO2 (99 atom-%, 350 ppm) incubation experiment was performed to identify active bacterial endophytes in two cultivars of Solanum tuberosum, cultivars Desirée and Merkur. We showed that after the assimilation and photosynthetic transformation of (13)CO2 into (13)C-labeled metabolites by the plant, the most directly active, cultivar specific heterotrophic endophytic bacteria that consume these labeled metabolite scan be identified by DNA stable isotope probing (DNA-SIP).Density-resolved DNA fractions obtained from SIP were subjected to 16S rRNA gene-based community analysis using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and sequencing of generated gene libraries.Community profiling revealed community compositions that were dominated by plant chloroplast and mitochondrial 16S rRNA genes for the light fractions of (13)CO2-incubated potato cultivars and of potato cultivars not incubated with (13)CO2. In the heavy fractions of the (13)CO2-incubated endophyte DNA, a bacterial 492-bp terminal restriction fragment became abundant, which could be clearly identified as Acinetobacter and Acidovorax spp. in cultivars Merkur and Desirée,respectively, indicating cultivar-dependent distinctions in (13)C-label flow. These two species represent two common potato endophytes with known plant-beneficial activities.The approach demonstrated the successful detection of active bacterial endophytes in potato. DNA-SIP therefore offers new opportunities for exploring the complex nature of plant-microbe interactions and plant-dependent microbial metabolisms within the endosphere.
Plant inoculation with endophytic bacteria that normally live inside the plant without harming the host is a highly promising approach for biological disease control. The mechanism of resistance induction by beneficial bacteria is poorly understood, because pathways are only partly known and systemic responses are typically not seen. The innate endophytic community structures change in response to external factors such as inoculation, and bacterial endophytes can exhibit direct or indirect antagonism towards pathogens. Earlier we showed that resistance induction by an endophytic Methylobacterium sp. in potato towards Pectobacterium atrosepticum was dependent on the density of the inoculum, whereas the bacterium itself had no antagonistic activity. To elucidate the role of innate endophyte communities in plant responses, we studied community changes in both in vitro and greenhouse experiments using various combinations of plants, endophyte inoculants, and pathogens. Induction of resistance was studied in several potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars by Methylobacterium sp. IMBG290 against the pathogens P. atrosepticum, Phytophthora infestans and Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000, and in pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) by M. extorquens DSM13060 against Gremmeniella abietina. The capacities of the inoculated endophytic Methylobacterium spp. strains to induce resistance were dependent on the plant cultivar, pathogen, and on the density of Methylobacterium spp. inoculum. Composition of the endophyte community changed in response to inoculation in shoot tissues and correlated with resistance or susceptibility to the disease. Our results demonstrate that endophytic Methylobacterium spp. strains have varying effects on plant disease resistance, which can be modulated through the endophyte community of the host.
Climate warming may induce shifts in soil microbial communities possibly altering the long-term carbon mineralization potential of soils. We assessed the response of the bacterial community in a forest soil to experimental soil warming (+4 °C) in the context of seasonal fluctuations. Three experimental plots were sampled in the fourth year of warming in summer and winter and compared to control plots by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. We sequenced 17,308 amplicons per sample and analysed operational taxonomic units at genetic distances of 0.03, 0.10 and 0.25, with respective Goods coverages of 0.900, 0.977 and 0.998. Diversity indices did not differ between summer, winter, control or warmed samples. Summer and winter samples differed in community structure at a genetic distance of 0.25, corresponding approximately to phylum level. This was mainly because of an increase of Actinobacteria in winter. Abundance patterns of dominant taxa (> 0.06% of all reads) were analysed individually and revealed, that seasonal shifts were coherent among related phylogenetic groups. Seasonal community dynamics were subtle compared to the dynamics of soil respiration. Despite a pronounced respiration response to soil warming, we did not detect warming effects on community structure or composition. Fine-scale shifts may have been concealed by the considerable spatial variation.
Plants in combination with microorganisms can remediate soils, which are contaminated with organic pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons. Inoculation of plants with degrading bacteria is one approach to improve remediation processes, but is often not successful due to the competition with resident microorganisms. It is therefore of high importance to address the persistence and colonization behavior of inoculant strains. The objective of this study was to determine whether the inoculation method (seed imbibement and soil inoculation) influences bacterial colonization, plant growth promotion and hydrocarbon degradation. Italian ryegrass was grown in non-sterilized soil polluted with diesel and inoculated with different alkane-degrading strains Pantoea sp. ITSI10, Pantoea sp. BTRH79 and Pseudomonas sp. MixRI75 individually as well as in combination. Inoculation generally had a beneficial effect on plant biomass production and hydrocarbon degradation, however, strains inoculated in soil performed better than applied by seed imbibement. Performance correlated with the colonization efficiency of the inoculated strains. The highest hydrocarbon degradation was observed in the treatment, in which all three strains were inoculated in combination into soil. Our study revealed that besides the degradation potential and competitive ability of inoculant strains the inoculation method plays an important role in determining the success of microbial inoculation.
Pharmacological studies focus on susceptibility of pathogenic microbes against specific drugs or combinations of them, ecological studies on substrate utilization efficiency of variable microbial communities. The MicroResp™ system was especially developed to study soil microbial communities. It was slightly modified to facilitate exploring of microbial growth efficiency in a concentration-dependent fashion (microdilutions of carbohydrate mixtures or specific toxic chemicals). After turbidimetric growth assessment, colorimetric indicator plates (cresol red agar) were mounted to the assay plates. The substrate utilisation design is illustrated by glucose and a plant carbohydrate mixture, the antimicrobial susceptibility design by the naphthoquinone juglone. Dose-response effects are explored by curve fitting of nonlinear models that especially have been developed to detect hormetic effects that are characterized by stimulation at lower followed by inhibition at higher dosages (U- and inverse U-shaped effects). Multivariate analyses are presented utilizing metavariables that were obtained in the curve fitting process of the measured parameters growth and respiration and the factor growth efficiency.
Hydroxynitrile lyases (HNLs) catalyze the cleavage of cyanohydrins. In the reverse reaction, they catalyze the formation of carbon-carbon bonds by enantioselective condensation of hydrocyanic acid with carbonyls. In this study, we describe two proteins from endophytic bacteria that display activity in the cleavage and the synthesis reaction of (R)-mandelonitrile with up to 74% conversion of benzaldehyde (enantiopreference ee 89%). Both showed high similarity to proteins of the cupin superfamily which so far were not known to exhibit HNL activity.
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