• Activity and composition of methanotrophic bacterial communities in planted rice soil studied by flux measurements, analyses of pmoA gene and stable isotope probing of phospholipid fatty acids.

      Shrestha, Minita; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Shrestha, Pravin Malla; Noll, Matthias; Conrad, Ralf; Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse, D-35043, Marburg, Germany. (2008-02)
      Methanotrophs in the rhizosphere of rice field ecosystems attenuate the emissions of CH(4) into the atmosphere and thus play an important role for the global cycle of this greenhouse gas. Therefore, we measured the activity and composition of the methanotrophic community in the rhizosphere of rice microcosms. Methane oxidation was determined by measuring the CH(4) flux in the presence and absence of difluoromethane as a specific inhibitor for methane oxidation. Methane oxidation started on day 24 and reached the maximum on day 32 after transplantation. The total methanotrophic community was analysed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and cloning/sequencing of the pmoA gene, which encodes a subunit of particulate methane monooxygenase. The metabolically active methanotrophic community was analysed by stable isotope probing of microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA-SIP) using (13)C-labelled CH(4) directly added to the rhizospheric region. Rhizospheric soil and root samples were collected after exposure to (13)CH(4) for 8 and 18 days. Both T-RFLP/cloning and PLFA-SIP approaches showed that type I and type II methanotrophic populations changed over time with respect to activity and population size in the rhizospheric soil and on the rice roots. However, type I methanotrophs were more active than type II methanotrophs at both time points indicating they were of particular importance in the rhizosphere. PLFA-SIP showed that the active methanotrophic populations exhibit a pronounced spatial and temporal variation in rice microcosms.
    • Sphingobium aromaticiconvertens sp. nov., a xenobiotic-compound-degrading bacterium from polluted river sediment.

      Wittich, Rolf-Michael; Busse, Hans-Jürgen; Kämpfer, Peter; Tiirola, Marja; Wieser, Monika; Macedo, Alexandre J; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (formerly GBF), Division Microbiology, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-02)
      A bacterial strain capable of degrading some monochlorinated dibenzofurans, designated RW16T, was isolated from aerobic River Elbe sediments. The strain was characterized based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, DNA G+C content, physiological characteristics, polyamines, ubiquinone and polar lipid pattern and fatty acid composition. This analysis revealed that strain RW16T represents a novel species of the genus Sphingobium. The DNA G+C content of strain RW16T, 60.7 mol%, is the lowest yet reported for the genus. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis placed strain RW16T as an outlier in the genus Sphingobium. The name Sphingobium aromaticiconvertens sp. nov. is proposed for this dibenzofuran-mineralizing organism, with type strain RW16T (=DSM 12677T=CIP 109198T).
    • Three stages of a biofilm community developing at the liquid-liquid interface between polychlorinated biphenyls and water.

      Macedo, Alexandre José; Kuhlicke, Ute; Neu, Thomas R; Timmis, Kenneth N; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; GBF-National Research Center for Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2005-11)
      Soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) was used as an inoculum to grow a complex biofilm community on PCB oil (Aroclor 1242) on a substratum (Permanox). The biofilm was monitored for 31 days by confocal laser scanning microscopy, community fingerprinting using single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP), amplicons of the 16S rRNA genes, and chemical analyses of the PCB congeners. SSCP analysis of the young biofilm revealed a rather diverse microbial community with species of the genera Herbaspirillum and Bradyrhizobium as dominant members. The biofilm developing on the PCB droplets displayed pronounced stages of PCB degradation and biofilm development not described before from pure-culture experiments. The first step was the colonization of the substratum while the PCB oil was hardly populated. When a certain density of bacteria was reached on the Permanox, the PCB was colonized, but soon the degradation of the congeners was markedly reduced and many cells were damaged, as seen by LIVE/DEAD staining. Finally, the biofilm formed aggregates and invaded the PCB oil, showing lower numbers of damaged cells than before and a dramatic increase in PCB degradation. This sequence of biofilm formation is understood as a maturation process prior to PCB oil colonization. This is followed by a thin biofilm on the PCB droplet, an aggregation process forming pockets in the PCB, and finally an invasion of the biofilm into the PCB oil. Only the mature biofilm showed degradation of pentachlorinated PCB congeners, which may be reductively dechlorinated and the resulting trichlorobiphenyls then aerobically metabolized.