Open AccessCommunication
Comparison of Rumen and Manure Microbiomes and Implications for the Inoculation of Anaerobic Digesters
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 15; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010015 -
Abstract
Cattle manure is frequently used as an inoculum for the start-up of agricultural biogas plants or as a co-substrate in the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic feedstock. Ruminal microbiota are considered to be effective plant fiber degraders, but the microbes contained in manure do
[...] Read more.
Cattle manure is frequently used as an inoculum for the start-up of agricultural biogas plants or as a co-substrate in the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic feedstock. Ruminal microbiota are considered to be effective plant fiber degraders, but the microbes contained in manure do not necessarily reflect the rumen microbiome. The aim of this study was to compare the microbial community composition of cow rumen and manure with respect to plant fiber-digesting microbes. Bacterial and methanogenic communities of rumen and manure samples were examined by 454 amplicon sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and mcrA genes, respectively. Rumen fluid samples were dominated by Prevotellaceae (29%), whereas Ruminococcaceae was the most abundant family in the manure samples (31%). Fibrobacteraceae (12%) and Bacteroidaceae (13%) were the second most abundant families in rumen fluid and manure, respectively. The high abundances of fiber-degrading bacteria belonging to Prevotellaceae and Fibrobacteraceae might explain the better performance of anaerobic digesters inoculated with rumen fluid. Members of the genus Methanobrevibacter were the predominant methanogens in the rumen fluid, whereas methanogenic communities of the manure samples were dominated by the candidate genus Methanoplasma. Our results suggest that inoculation or bioaugmentation with fiber-digesting rumen microbiota can enhance the anaerobic digestion of lignocellulosic biomass. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Bacterial Microbiota of Rice Roots: 16S-Based Taxonomic Profiling of Endophytic and Rhizospheric Diversity, Endophytes Isolation and Simplified Endophytic Community
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010014 -
Abstract
Rice is currently the most important food crop in the world and we are only just beginning to study the bacterial associated microbiome. It is of importance to perform screenings of the core rice microbiota and also to develop new plant-microbe models and
[...] Read more.
Rice is currently the most important food crop in the world and we are only just beginning to study the bacterial associated microbiome. It is of importance to perform screenings of the core rice microbiota and also to develop new plant-microbe models and simplified communities for increasing our understanding about the formation and function of its microbiome. In order to begin to address this aspect, we have performed a 16S rDNA taxonomic bacterial profiling of the rhizosphere and endorhizosphere of two high-yield rice cultivars—Pionero 2010 FL and DANAC SD20A—extensively grown in Venezuela in 2014. Fifteen putative bacterial endophytes were then isolated from surface-sterilized roots and further studied in vitro and in planta. We have then performed inoculation of rice seedlings with a simplified community composed by 10 of the isolates and we have tracked them in the course of 30 days in greenhouse cultivation. The results obtained suggest that a set was able to significantly colonize together the rice endorhizospheres, indicating possible cooperation and the ability to form a stable multispecies community. This approach can be useful in the development of microbial solutions for a more sustainable rice production. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Biomarkers’ Responses to Reductive Dechlorination Rates and Oxygen Stress in Bioaugmentation Culture KB-1TM
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010013 -
Abstract
Using mRNA transcript levels for key functional enzymes as proxies for the organohalide respiration (OHR) rate, is a promising approach for monitoring bioremediation populations in situ at chlorinated solvent-contaminated field sites. However, to date, no correlations have been empirically derived for chlorinated solvent
[...] Read more.
Using mRNA transcript levels for key functional enzymes as proxies for the organohalide respiration (OHR) rate, is a promising approach for monitoring bioremediation populations in situ at chlorinated solvent-contaminated field sites. However, to date, no correlations have been empirically derived for chlorinated solvent respiring, Dehalococcoides mccartyi (DMC) containing, bioaugmentation cultures. In the current study, genome-wide transcriptome and proteome data were first used to confirm the most highly expressed OHR-related enzymes in the bioaugmentation culture, KB-1TM, including several reductive dehalogenases (RDases) and a Ni-Fe hydrogenase, Hup. Different KB-1™ DMC strains could be resolved at the RNA and protein level through differences in the sequence of a common RDase (DET1545-like homologs) and differences in expression of their vinyl chloride-respiring RDases. The dominant strain expresses VcrA, whereas the minor strain utilizes BvcA. We then used quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) as a targeted approach for quantifying transcript copies in the KB-1TM consortium operated under a range of TCE respiration rates in continuously-fed, pseudo-steady-state reactors. These candidate biomarkers from KB-1TM demonstrated a variety of trends in terms of transcript abundance as a function of respiration rate over the range: 7.7 × 10−12 to 5.9 × 10−10 microelectron equivalents per cell per hour (μeeq/cell∙h). Power law trends were observed between the respiration rate and transcript abundance for the main DMC RDase (VcrA) and the hydrogenase HupL (R2 = 0.83 and 0.88, respectively), but not transcripts for 16S rRNA or three other RDases examined: TceA, BvcA or the RDase DET1545 homologs in KB1TM. Overall, HupL transcripts appear to be the most robust activity biomarker across multiple DMC strains and in mixed communities including DMC co-cultures such as KB1TM. The addition of oxygen induced cell stress that caused respiration rates to decline immediately (>95% decline within one hour). Although transcript levels did decline, they did so more slowly than the respiration rate observed (transcript decay rates between 0.02 and 0.03 per hour). Data from strain-specific probes on the pangenome array strains suggest that a minor DMC strain in KB-1™ that harbors a bvcA homolog preferentially recovered following oxygen stress relative to the dominant, vcrA-containing strain. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Defining Multidrug Resistance of Gram-Negative Bacteria in the Dutch–German Border Region—Impact of National Guidelines
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010011 -
Abstract
Preventing the spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (MDRGNB) is a public health priority. However, the definition of MDRGNB applied for planning infection prevention measures such as barrier precautions differs depending on national guidelines. This is particularly relevant in the Dutch–German border region, where
[...] Read more.
Preventing the spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria (MDRGNB) is a public health priority. However, the definition of MDRGNB applied for planning infection prevention measures such as barrier precautions differs depending on national guidelines. This is particularly relevant in the Dutch–German border region, where patients are transferred between healthcare facilities located in the two different countries, because clinicians and infection control personnel must understand antibiograms indicating MDRGNB from both sides of the border and using both national guidelines. This retrospective study aimed to compare antibiograms of Gram-negative bacteria and classify them using the Dutch and German national standards for MDRGNB definition. A total of 31,787 antibiograms from six Dutch and four German hospitals were classified. Overall, 73.7% were no MDRGNB according to both guidelines. According to the Dutch and German guideline, 7772/31,787 (24.5%) and 4586/31,787 (12.9%) were MDRGNB, respectively (p < 0.0001). Major divergent classifications were observed for extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) -producing Enterobacteriaceae, non-carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. The observed differences show that medical staff must carefully check previous diagnostic findings when patients are transferred across the Dutch–German border, as it cannot be assumed that MDRGNB requiring special hygiene precautions are marked in the transferred antibiograms in accordance with both national guidelines. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Responses of an Agricultural Soil Microbiome to Flooding with Seawater after Managed Coastal Realignment
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010012 -
Abstract
Coastal areas have become more prone to flooding with seawater due to climate-change-induced sea-level rise and intensified storm surges. One way to cope with this issue is by “managed coastal realignment”, where low-lying coastal areas are no longer protected and instead flooded with
[...] Read more.
Coastal areas have become more prone to flooding with seawater due to climate-change-induced sea-level rise and intensified storm surges. One way to cope with this issue is by “managed coastal realignment”, where low-lying coastal areas are no longer protected and instead flooded with seawater. How flooding with seawater impacts soil microbiomes and the biogeochemical cycling of elements is poorly understood. To address this, we conducted a microcosm experiment using soil cores collected at the nature restoration project site Gyldensteen Strand (Denmark), which were flooded with seawater and monitored over six months. Throughout the experiment, biogeochemical analyses, microbial community fingerprinting and the quantification of marker genes documented clear shifts in microbiome composition and activity. The flooding with seawater initially resulted in accelerated heterotrophic activity that entailed high ammonium production and net removal of nitrogen from the system, also demonstrated by a concurrent increase in the abundances of marker genes for ammonium oxidation and denitrification. Due to the depletion of labile soil organic matter, microbial activity decreased after approximately four months. The event of flooding caused the largest shifts in microbiome composition with the availability of labile organic matter subsequently being the most important driver for the succession in microbiome composition in soils flooded with seawater. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Investigating Potential Chromosomal Rearrangements during Laboratory Culture of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010010 -
Abstract
Comparisons of genome sequence data between different strains and isolates of Neisseria spp., such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, reveal that over the evolutionary history of these organisms, large scale chromosomal rearrangements have occurred. Factors within the genomes, such as repetitive sequences and prophage,
[...] Read more.
Comparisons of genome sequence data between different strains and isolates of Neisseria spp., such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, reveal that over the evolutionary history of these organisms, large scale chromosomal rearrangements have occurred. Factors within the genomes, such as repetitive sequences and prophage, are believed to have contributed to these observations. However, the timescale in which rearrangements occur is not clear, nor whether it might be expected for them to happen in the laboratory. In this study, N. gonorrhoeae was repeatedly passaged in the laboratory and assessed for large scale chromosomal rearrangements. Using gonococcal strain NCCP11945, for which there is a complete genome sequence, cultures were passaged for eight weeks in the laboratory. The resulting genomic DNA was assessed using Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis, comparing the results to the predicted results from the genome sequence data. Three cultures generated Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis patterns that varied from the genomic data and were further investigated for potential chromosomal rearrangements. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Therapeutic Management of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bloodstream Infection Non-Susceptible to Carbapenems but Susceptible to “Old” Cephalosporins and/or to Penicillins
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010009 -
Abstract
It is unknown as to whether other beta-lactams can be used for bloodstream infections (BSI) resulting from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) which are non-susceptible to one or more carbapenem. We conducted a retrospective cohort study at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center (AHMC) from January
[...] Read more.
It is unknown as to whether other beta-lactams can be used for bloodstream infections (BSI) resulting from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) which are non-susceptible to one or more carbapenem. We conducted a retrospective cohort study at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center (AHMC) from January 2010 to August 2014. Adult patients with PA-BSI non-susceptible to a group 2 carbapenem but susceptible to ceftazidime or piperacillin (with or without tazobactam), were enrolled. We compared the outcomes of patients who received an appropriate beta-lactam antibiotic (“cases”) to those who received an appropriate non-beta-lactam antibiotic (“controls”). Whole genome sequencing was performed for one of the isolates. Twenty-six patients with PA-BSI met inclusion criteria: 18 received a beta-lactam and 8 a non-beta-lactam (three a fluoroquinolone, two colistin, one a fluoroquinolone and an aminoglycoside, one a fluoroquinolone and colistin, and one colistin and an aminoglycoside). All clinical outcomes were similar between the groups. There were large variations in the phenotypic susceptibilities of the strains. A detailed molecular investigation of one isolate revealed a strain that belonged to MLST-137, with the presence of multiple efflux pumps, OXA-50, and a chromosomally mediated Pseudomonas-derived cephalosporinase (PDC). The oprD gene was intact. Non-carbapenem-β-lactams may still be effective alternatives for short duration therapy (up to 14 days) for BSI caused by a carbapenem non-susceptible (but susceptible to ceftazidime, piperacillin, and/or piperacillin-tazobactam) PA strain. This observation requires further confirmatory analyses. Future molecular investigations should be performed, in order to further analyze additional potential mechanisms for this prevalent phenotype. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Biogenic Weathering: Solubilization of Iron from Minerals by Epilithic Freshwater Algae and Cyanobacteria
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010008 -
Abstract
A sandstone outcrop exposed to freshwater seepage supports a diverse assemblage of photosynthetic microbes. Dominant taxa are two cyanophytes (Oscillatoria sp., Rivularia sp.) and a unicellular green alga (Palmellococcus sp.). Less abundant taxa include a filamentous green alga, Microspora, and
[...] Read more.
A sandstone outcrop exposed to freshwater seepage supports a diverse assemblage of photosynthetic microbes. Dominant taxa are two cyanophytes (Oscillatoria sp., Rivularia sp.) and a unicellular green alga (Palmellococcus sp.). Less abundant taxa include a filamentous green alga, Microspora, and the desmid Cosmarium. Biologic activity is evidenced by measured levels of chlorophyll and lipids. Bioassay methods confirm the ability of these microbes to dissolve and metabolize Fe from ferruginous minerals. Chromatographic analysis reveals citric acid as the likely chelating agent; this low molecular weight organic acid is detectable in interstitial fluid in the sandstone, measured as 0.0756 mg/mL. Bioassays using a model organism, Synechoccus elongates strain UTEX 650, show that Fe availability varies among different ferruginous minerals. In decreasing order of Fe availability: magnetite > limonite > biotite > siderite > hematite. Biotite was selected for detailed study because it is the most abundant iron-bearing mineral in the sandstone. SEM images support the microbiologic evidence, showing weathering of biotite compared to relatively undamaged grains of other silicate minerals. Full article
Figures

Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Microorganisms in 2017
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010007 -
Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Microorganisms maintains high quality standards for its published papers [...]
Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of an Accelerated Workflow for Surveillance of ESBL (CTX-M)-Producing Escherichia coli Using Amplicon-Based Next-Generation Sequencing and Automated Analysis
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010006 -
Abstract
Outbreak management of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing pathogens requires rapid and accurate diagnosis. However, conventional screening is slow and labor-intensive. The vast majority of the screened samples are negative and detection of non-outbreak-related resistant micro-organisms often complicates outbreak management. In a CTX-M-15-producing
[...] Read more.
Outbreak management of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing pathogens requires rapid and accurate diagnosis. However, conventional screening is slow and labor-intensive. The vast majority of the screened samples are negative and detection of non-outbreak-related resistant micro-organisms often complicates outbreak management. In a CTX-M-15-producing Escherichia coli outbreak, 149 fecal samples and rectal eSwabs were collected by a cross-sectional survey in a Dutch nursing home. Samples were processed by routine diagnostic methods. Retrospectively, ESBL-producing bacteria and resistance genes were detected directly from eSwab medium by an accelerated workflow without prior enrichment cultures by an amplicon-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) method, and culture. A total of 27 (18.1%) samples were positive in either test. Sensitivity for CTX-M detection was 96.3% for the phenotypic method and 85.2% for the NGS method, and the specificity was 100% for both methods, as confirmed by micro-array. This resulted in a positive predictive value (PPV) of 100% for both methods, and a negative predictive value (NPV) of 99.2% and 96.8% for the phenotypic method and the NGS method, respectively. Time to result was four days and 14 h for the phenotypic method and the NGS method, respectively. In conclusion, the sensitivity without enrichment shows promising results for further use of amplicon-based NGS for screening during outbreaks. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Enzymatic Preparation of 2,5-Furandicarboxylic Acid (FDCA)—A Substitute of Terephthalic Acid—By the Joined Action of Three Fungal Enzymes
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010005 -
Abstract
Enzymatic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and its oxidized derivatives was studied using three fungal enzymes: wild-type aryl alcohol oxidase (AAO) from three fungal species, wild-type peroxygenase from Agrocybe aegerita (AaeUPO), and recombinant galactose oxidase (GAO). The effect of pH on different
[...] Read more.
Enzymatic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and its oxidized derivatives was studied using three fungal enzymes: wild-type aryl alcohol oxidase (AAO) from three fungal species, wild-type peroxygenase from Agrocybe aegerita (AaeUPO), and recombinant galactose oxidase (GAO). The effect of pH on different reaction steps was evaluated and apparent kinetic data (Michaelis-Menten constants, turnover numbers, specific constants) were calculated for different enzyme-substrate ratios and enzyme combinations. Finally, the target product, 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), was prepared in a multi-enzyme cascade reaction combining three fungal oxidoreductases at micro-scale. Furthermore, an oxidase-like reaction is proposed for heme-containing peroxidases, such as UPO, horseradish peroxidase, or catalase, causing the conversion of 5-formyl-2-furancarboxylic acid into FDCA in the absence of exogenous hydrogen peroxide. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Increase of Salt Tolerance in Carbon-Starved Cells of Rhodopseudomonas palustris Depending on Photosynthesis or Respiration
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010004 -
Abstract
Bacteria in natural environments are frequently exposed to nutrient starvation and survive against environmental stresses under non-growing conditions. In order to determine the energetic influence on survivability during starvation, changes in salt tolerance were investigated using the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris after
[...] Read more.
Bacteria in natural environments are frequently exposed to nutrient starvation and survive against environmental stresses under non-growing conditions. In order to determine the energetic influence on survivability during starvation, changes in salt tolerance were investigated using the purple photosynthetic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris after carbon starvation under photosynthetic conditions in comparison with anaerobic and aerobic dark conditions. Tolerance to a treatment with high concentration of salt (2.5 M NaCl for 1 h) was largely increased after starvation under anaerobically light and aerobically dark conditions. The starved cells under the conditions of photosynthesis or aerobic respiration contained high levels of cellular ATP, but starvation under the anaerobic dark conditions resulted in a decrease of cellular ATP contents. To observe the large increase of the salt tolerance, incubation of starved cells for more than 18 h under illumination was needed. These results suggest that the ATP-dependent rearrangement of cells induced salt tolerance. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Pichia pastoris is a Suitable Host for the Heterologous Expression of Predicted Class I and Class II Hydrophobins for Discovery, Study, and Application in Biotechnology
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010003 -
Abstract
The heterologous expression of proteins is often a crucial first step in not only investigating their function, but also in their industrial application. The functional assembly and aggregation of hydrophobins offers intriguing biotechnological applications from surface modification to drug delivery, yet make developing
[...] Read more.
The heterologous expression of proteins is often a crucial first step in not only investigating their function, but also in their industrial application. The functional assembly and aggregation of hydrophobins offers intriguing biotechnological applications from surface modification to drug delivery, yet make developing systems for their heterologous expression challenging. In this article, we describe the development of Pichia pastoris KM71H strains capable of solubly producing the full set of predicted Cordyceps militaris hydrophobins CMil1 (Class IA), CMil2 (Class II), and CMil3 (IM) at mg/L yields with the use of 6His-tags not only for purification but for their detection. This result further demonstrates the feasibility of using P. pastoris as a host organism for the production of hydrophobins from all Ascomycota Class I subdivisions (a classification our previous work defined) as well as Class II. We highlight the specific challenges related to the production of hydrophobins, notably the challenge in detecting the protein that will be described, in particular during the screening of transformants. Together with the literature, our results continue to show that P. pastoris is a suitable host for the soluble heterologous expression of hydrophobins with a wide range of properties. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Unusually High Incidences of Staphylococcus aureus Infection within Studies of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia Prevention Using Topical Antibiotics: Benchmarking the Evidence Base
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010002 -
Abstract
Selective digestive decontamination (SDD, topical antibiotic regimens applied to the respiratory tract) appears effective for preventing ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. However, potential contextual effects of SDD on Staphylococcus aureus infections in the ICU remain unclear. The S.
[...] Read more.
Selective digestive decontamination (SDD, topical antibiotic regimens applied to the respiratory tract) appears effective for preventing ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. However, potential contextual effects of SDD on Staphylococcus aureus infections in the ICU remain unclear. The S. aureus ventilator associated pneumonia (S. aureus VAP), VAP overall and S. aureus bacteremia incidences within component (control and intervention) groups within 27 SDD studies were benchmarked against 115 observational groups. Component groups from 66 studies of various interventions other than SDD provided additional points of reference. In 27 SDD study control groups, the mean S. aureus VAP incidence is 9.6% (95% CI; 6.9–13.2) versus a benchmark derived from 115 observational groups being 4.8% (95% CI; 4.2–5.6). In nine SDD study control groups the mean S. aureus bacteremia incidence is 3.8% (95% CI; 2.1–5.7) versus a benchmark derived from 10 observational groups being 2.1% (95% CI; 1.1–4.1). The incidences of S. aureus VAP and S. aureus bacteremia within the control groups of SDD studies are each higher than literature derived benchmarks. Paradoxically, within the SDD intervention groups, the incidences of both S. aureus VAP and VAP overall are more similar to the benchmarks. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Over a Decade of recA and tly Gene Sequence Typing of the Skin Bacterium Propionibacterium acnes: What Have We Learnt?
Microorganisms 2018, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/microorganisms6010001 -
Abstract
The Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes forms part of the normal microbiota on human skin and mucosal surfaces. While normally associated with skin health, P. acnes is also an opportunistic pathogen linked with a range of human infections and clinical conditions. Over the
[...] Read more.
The Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium Propionibacterium acnes forms part of the normal microbiota on human skin and mucosal surfaces. While normally associated with skin health, P. acnes is also an opportunistic pathogen linked with a range of human infections and clinical conditions. Over the last decade, our knowledge of the intraspecies phylogenetics and taxonomy of this bacterium has increased tremendously due to the introduction of DNA typing schemes based on single and multiple gene loci, as well as whole genomes. Furthermore, this work has led to the identification of specific lineages associated with skin health and human disease. In this review we will look back at the introduction of DNA sequence typing of P. acnes based on recA and tly loci, and then describe how these methods provided a basic understanding of the population genetic structure of the bacterium, and even helped characterize the grapevine-associated lineage of P. acnes, known as P. acnes type Zappe, which appears to have undergone a host switch from humans-to-plants. Particular limitations of recA and tly sequence typing will also be presented, as well as a detailed discussion of more recent, higher resolution, DNA-based methods to type P. acnes and investigate its evolutionary history in greater detail. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
What Kills the Hindgut Flagellates of Lower Termites during the Host Molting Cycle?
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 82; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040082 -
Abstract
Subsocial wood feeding cockroaches in the genus Cryptocercus, the sister group of termites, retain their symbiotic gut flagellates during the host molting cycle, but in lower termites, closely related flagellates die prior to host ecdysis. Although the prevalent view is that termite
[...] Read more.
Subsocial wood feeding cockroaches in the genus Cryptocercus, the sister group of termites, retain their symbiotic gut flagellates during the host molting cycle, but in lower termites, closely related flagellates die prior to host ecdysis. Although the prevalent view is that termite flagellates die because of conditions of starvation and desiccation in the gut during the host molting cycle, the work of L.R. Cleveland in the 1930s through the 1960s provides a strong alternate hypothesis: it was the changed hormonal environment associated with the origin of eusociality and its concomitant shift in termite developmental ontogeny that instigates the death of the flagellates in termites. Although the research on termite gut microbial communities has exploded since the advent of modern molecular techniques, the role of the host hormonal environment on the life cycle of its gut flagellates has been neglected. Here Cleveland’s studies are revisited to provide a basis for re-examination of the problem, and the results framed in the context of two alternate hypotheses: the flagellate symbionts are victims of the change in host social status, or the flagellates have become incorporated into the life cycle of the eusocial termite colony. Recent work on parasitic protists suggests clear paths for exploring these hypotheses and for resolving long standing issues regarding sexual-encystment cycles in flagellates of the Cryptocercus-termite lineage using molecular methodologies, bringing the problem into the modern era. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
The Seagrass Holobiont and Its Microbiome
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 81; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040081 -
Abstract
Seagrass meadows are ecologically and economically important components of many coastal areas worldwide. Ecosystem services provided by seagrasses include reducing the number of microbial pathogens in the water, providing food, shelter and nurseries for many species, and decreasing the impact of waves on
[...] Read more.
Seagrass meadows are ecologically and economically important components of many coastal areas worldwide. Ecosystem services provided by seagrasses include reducing the number of microbial pathogens in the water, providing food, shelter and nurseries for many species, and decreasing the impact of waves on the shorelines. A global assessment reported that 29% of the known areal extent of seagrasses has disappeared since seagrass areas were initially recorded in 1879. Several factors such as direct and indirect human activity contribute to the demise of seagrasses. One of the main reasons for seagrass die-offs all over the world is increased sulfide concentrations in the sediment that result from the activity of sulfate-reducing prokaryotes, which perform the last step of the anaerobic food chain in marine sediments and reduce sulfate to H2S. Recent seagrass die-offs, e.g., in the Florida and Biscayne Bays, were caused by an increase in pore-water sulfide concentrations in the sediment, which were the combined result of unfavorable environmental conditions and the activities of various groups of heterotrophic bacteria in the sulfate-rich water-column and sediment that are stimulated through increased nutrient concentrations. Under normal circumstances, seagrasses are able to withstand low levels of sulfide, probably partly due to microbial symbionts, which detoxify sulfide by oxidizing it to sulfur or sulfate. Novel studies are beginning to give greater insights into the interactions of microbes and seagrasses, not only in the sulfur cycle. Here, we review the literature on the basic ecology and biology of seagrasses and focus on studies describing their microbiome. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Bioactive Compounds Produced by Hypoxylon fragiforme against Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 80; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040080 -
Abstract
Treating infections organized in biofilms is a challenge due to the resistance of the pathogens against antibiotics and host immune cells. Many fungi grow in a wet environment, favorable for the growth of bacterial biofilms, and we speculated that fungi possess some strategies
[...] Read more.
Treating infections organized in biofilms is a challenge due to the resistance of the pathogens against antibiotics and host immune cells. Many fungi grow in a wet environment, favorable for the growth of bacterial biofilms, and we speculated that fungi possess some strategies to control these bacterial biofilms. A fungus identified as Hypoxylon fragiforme, was collected in the Harz Mountains, Germany, and its mycelial culture was fermented in different culture media for 67 days to test its biological potential against bacterial biofilms. Sclerin, sclerin diacid and its 3-methyl monoester (methyl 1-(5-hydroxy-6-carboxylic-2,3,4-trimethylphenyl) propionate) are here described for the first time from this fungus. Sclerin and its diacid interfered with the biofilm formation of the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, inhibiting 86% and 80% of the biofilm at 256 μg mL−1, respectively, but not killing the bacterium. Interestingly, the monomethylester of sclerin diacid was inactive. Although these compounds did not possess any activity against a pre-formed biofilm, they prevented its formation at subtoxic concentrations. Furthermore, sclerin and its diacid displayed a high specificity against Staphylococcus aureus, indicating a good strategy against pathogenic biofilms when combined with antibiotics. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Relationship among Phosphorus Circulation Activity, Bacterial Biomass, pH, and Mineral Concentration in Agricultural Soil
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 79; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040079 -
Abstract
Improvement of phosphorus circulation in the soil is necessary to enhance phosphorus availability to plants. Phosphorus circulation activity is an index of soil’s ability to supply soluble phosphorus from organic phosphorus in the soil solution. To understand the relationship among phosphorus circulation activity;
[...] Read more.
Improvement of phosphorus circulation in the soil is necessary to enhance phosphorus availability to plants. Phosphorus circulation activity is an index of soil’s ability to supply soluble phosphorus from organic phosphorus in the soil solution. To understand the relationship among phosphorus circulation activity; bacterial biomass; pH; and Fe, Al, and Ca concentrations (described as mineral concentration in this paper) in agricultural soil, 232 soil samples from various agricultural fields were collected and analyzed. A weak relationship between phosphorus circulation activity and bacterial biomass was observed in all soil samples (R2 = 0.25), and this relationship became significantly stronger at near-neutral pH (6.0–7.3; R2 = 0.67). No relationship between phosphorus circulation activity and bacterial biomass was observed at acidic (pH < 6.0) or alkaline (pH > 7.3) pH. A negative correlation between Fe and Al concentrations and phosphorus circulation activity was observed at acidic pH (R2 = 0.72 and 0.73, respectively), as well as for Ca at alkaline pH (R2 = 0.64). Therefore, bacterial biomass, pH, and mineral concentration should be considered together for activation of phosphorus circulation activity in the soil. A relationship model was proposed based on the effects of bacterial biomass and mineral concentration on phosphorus circulation activity. The suitable conditions of bacterial biomass, pH, and mineral concentration for phosphorus circulation activity could be estimated from the relationship model. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
The Small Regulatory RNA Spot42 Inhibits Indole Biosynthesis to Negatively Regulate the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli
Microorganisms 2017, 5(4), 78; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5040078 -
Abstract
The locus of enterocyte effacement is necessary for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E lesions are characterized by intimate bacterial adherence to intestinal cells and destruction of microvilli, which leads to diarrhea. Therefore, studies interrogating the regulation
[...] Read more.
The locus of enterocyte effacement is necessary for enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E lesions are characterized by intimate bacterial adherence to intestinal cells and destruction of microvilli, which leads to diarrhea. Therefore, studies interrogating the regulation of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) are critical for understanding the molecular epidemiology of EPEC infections and developing interventional strategies. Hitherto, most studies have centered on protein-based regulators, whereas the role of small regulatory RNAs remains underappreciated. Previously, we identified the first sRNAs—MgrR, RyhB, and McaS—that regulate the LEE of EPEC. This study was undertaken to identify additional sRNAs that impact the LEE. Our results suggest that the catabolite-responsive sRNA, Spot42, indirectly controls the LEE by inhibiting synthesis of its inducer, indole. Spot42 base-pairs with the tnaCAB mRNA and presumably destabilizes the transcript, thereby preventing expression of the regulatory and structural proteins that are involved in the import and hydrolysis of tryptophan into indole. The absence of intracellular indole leads to reduced transcription of the LEE1-encoded master transcriptional activator Ler, thereby maintaining the LEE in its silenced state and delaying A/E lesion morphogenesis. Our results highlight the importance of riboregulators that synchronize metabolic and virulence pathways in bacterial infection. Full article
Figures

Figure 1