Abstract: The Herman Pit, once a mercury mine, is an impoundment located in an active geothermal area. Its acidic waters are permeated by hundreds of gas seeps. One seep was sampled and found to be composed of mostly CO2 with some CH4 present. The δ13CH4 value suggested a complex origin for the methane: i.e., a thermogenic component plus a biological methanogenic portion. The relatively 12C-enriched CO2 suggested a reworking of the ebullitive methane by methanotrophic bacteria. Therefore, we tested bottom sediments for their ability to consume methane by conducting aerobic incubations of slurried materials. Methane was removed from the headspace of live slurries, and subsequent additions of methane resulted in faster removal rates. This activity could be transferred to an artificial, acidic medium, indicating the presence of acidophilic or acid-tolerant methanotrophs, the latter reinforced by the observation of maximum activity at pH = 4.5 with incubated slurries. A successful extraction of sterol and hopanoid lipids characteristic of methanotrophs was achieved, and their abundances greatly increased with increased sediment methane consumption. DNA extracted from methane-oxidizing enrichment cultures was amplified and sequenced for pmoA genes that aligned with methanotrophic members of the Gammaproteobacteria. An enrichment culture was established that grew in an acidic (pH 4.5) medium via methane oxidation.
Abstract: Halophilic microorganisms thrive at elevated concentrations of sodium chloride up to saturation and are capable of growing on a wide variety of carbon sources like various organic acids, hexose and also pentose sugars. Hence, the biotechnological application of these microorganisms can cover many aspects, such as the treatment of hypersaline waste streams of different origin. Due to the fact that the high osmotic pressure of hypersaline environments reduces the risk of contamination, the capacity for cost-effective non-sterile cultivation can make extreme halophilic microorganisms potentially valuable organisms for biotechnological applications. In this contribution, the stepwise use of screening approaches, employing design of experiment (DoE) on model media and subsequently using industrial waste as substrate have been implemented to investigate the applicability of halophiles to generate PHB from the industrial waste stream spent sulfite liquor (SSL). The production of PHB on model media as well as dilutions of industrial substrate in a complex medium has been screened for by fluorescence microscopy using Nile Blue staining. Screening was used to investigate the ability of halophilic microorganisms to withstand the inhibiting substances of the waste stream without negatively affecting PHB production. It could be shown that neither single inhibiting substances nor a mixture thereof inhibited growth in the investigated range, hence, leaving the question on the inhibiting mechanisms open. However, it could be demonstrated that some haloarchaea and halophilic bacteria are able to produce PHB when cultivated on 3.3% w/w dry matter spent sulfite liquor, whereas H. halophila was even able to thrive on 6.6% w/w dry matter spent sulfite liquor and still produce PHB.
Abstract: High-throughput molecular screening is required to investigate the origin and diffusion of antimicrobial resistance in pathogen outbreaks. The most frequent cause of human infection is Escherichia coli, which is dominated by sequence type 131 (ST131)—a set of rapidly radiating pandemic clones. The highly infectious clades of ST131 originated firstly by a mutation enhancing conjugation and adhesion. Secondly, single-nucleotide polymorphisms occurred enabling fluoroquinolone-resistance, which is near-fixed in all ST131. Thirdly, broader resistance through beta-lactamases has been gained and lost frequently, symptomatic of conflicting environmental selective effects. This flexible approach to gene exchange is worrying and supports the proposition that ST131 will develop an even wider range of plasmid and chromosomal elements promoting antimicrobial resistance. To stop ST131, deep genome sequencing is required to understand the origin, evolution and spread of antimicrobial resistance genes. Phylogenetic methods that decipher past events can predict future patterns of virulence and transmission based on genetic signatures of adaptation and gene exchange. Both the effect of partial antimicrobial exposure and cell dormancy caused by variation in gene expression may accelerate the development of resistance. High-throughput sequencing can decode measurable evolution of cell populations within patients associated with systems-wide changes in gene expression during treatments. A multi-faceted approach can enhance assessment of antimicrobial resistance in E. coli ST131 by examining transmission dynamics between hosts to achieve a goal of pre-empting resistance before it emerges by optimising antimicrobial treatment protocols.
Abstract: Increasing evidence suggests that gut microbiota is an environmental factor that plays a crucial role in obesity. However, the aetiology of obesity is rather complex and depends on different factors. Furthermore, there is a lack of consensus about the exact role that this microbial community plays in the host. The aim of this review is to present evidence about what has been characterized, compositionally and functionally, as obese gut microbiota. In addition, the different reasons explaining the so-far unclear role are discussed considering evidence from in vitro, animal and human studies.
Abstract: Lactobacilli are employed in probiotic food preparations and as feed additives in poultry and livestock, due to health benefits associated with their consumption. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare the probiotic potential of ten lactobacilli strains isolated from commercial dairy food products and animal rumen contents in New Zealand. Genetic identification of the isolates revealed that all belonged to the genus Lactobacillus, specifically the species L.reuteri, L. rhamnosus and L.plantarum. All isolates did not show any haemolytic behaviour. Isolates of dairy origin showed better tolerance to low pH stress. On the other hand, rumen isolates exhibited a higher tolerance to presence of bile salts. All isolates exhibited resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics, however most were sensitive to ampicillin. Isolates of rumen origin demonstrated a higher inhibitory effect on Listeria monocytogenes, Enterobacter aerogenes and Salmonella menston. Bacterial adherence of all isolates increased with a decrease in pH. This screening study on lactobacilli isolates has assessed and identified potential probiotic candidates for further evaluation.
Abstract: Methyloversatilisuniversalis FAM5 utilizes single carbon compounds such as methanol or methylamine as a sole source of carbon and energy. Expression profiling reveals distinct sets of genes altered during growth on methylamine vs methanol. As expected, all genes for the N-methylglutamate pathway were induced during growth on methylamine. Among other functions responding to the aminated source of C1-carbon, are a heme-containing amine dehydrogenase (Qhp), a distant homologue of formaldehyde activating enzyme (Fae3), molybdenum-containing formate dehydrogenase, ferredoxin reductase, a set of homologues to urea/ammonium transporters and amino-acid permeases. Mutants lacking one of the functional subunits of the amine dehydrogenase (ΔqhpA) or Δfae3 showed no growth defect on C1-compounds. M.universalis FAM5 strains with a lesion in the H4-folate pathway were not able to use any C1-compound, methanol or methylamine. Genes essential for C1-assimilation (the serine cycle and glyoxylate shunt) and H4MTP-pathway for formaldehyde oxidation showed similar levels of expression on both C1-carbon sources. M. universalis FAM5 possesses three homologs of the formaldehyde activating enzyme, a key enzyme of the H4MTP-pathway. Strains lacking the canonical Fae (fae1)lost the ability to grow on both C1-compounds. However, upon incubation on methylamine the fae1-mutant produced revertants (Δfae1R), which regained the ability to grow on methylamine. Double and triple mutants (Δfae1RΔfae3,or Δfae1RΔfae2 or Δfae1RΔfae2Δfae3) constructed in the revertantstrainbackground showed growth similar to the Δfae1R phenotype. The metabolic pathways for utilization of methanol and methylamine in Methyloversatilisuniversalis FAM5 are reconstructed based on these gene expression and phenotypic data.