Image_4_Characterization of Bacterial and Fungal Assemblages From Historically Contaminated Metalliferous Soils Using Metagenomics Coupled With Diffus.tif (820.16 kB)

Image_4_Characterization of Bacterial and Fungal Assemblages From Historically Contaminated Metalliferous Soils Using Metagenomics Coupled With Diffusion Chambers and Microbial Traps.tif

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posted on 10.06.2020 by Ashish Pathak, Rajneesh Jaswal, Xiaoyu Xu, John R. White, Bobby Edwards, Jaden Hunt, Scott Brooks, Rajesh Singh Rathore, Meenakshi Agarwal, Ashvini Chauhan

The majority of environmental microbiomes are not amenable to cultivation under standard laboratory growth conditions and hence remain uncharacterized. For environmental applications, such as bioremediation, it is necessary to isolate microbes performing the desired function, which may not necessarily be the fast growing or the copiotroph microbiota. Toward this end, cultivation and isolation of microbial strains using diffusion chambers (DC) and/or microbial traps (MT) have both been recently demonstrated to be effective strategies because microbial enrichment is facilitated by soil nutrients and not by synthetically defined media, thus simulating their native habitat. In this study, DC/MT chambers were established using soils collected from two US Department of Energy (DOE) sites with long-term history of heavy metal contamination, including mercury (Hg). To characterize the contamination levels and nutrient status, soils were first analyzed for total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg), total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP). Multivariate statistical analysis on these measurements facilitated binning of soils under high, medium and low levels of contamination. Bacterial and fungal microbiomes that developed within the DC and MT chambers were evaluated using comparative metagenomics, revealing Chthoniobacter, Burkholderia and Bradyrhizobium spp., as the predominant bacteria while Penicillium, Thielavia, and Trichoderma predominated among fungi. Many of these core microbiomes were also retrieved as axenic isolates. Furthermore, canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) of biogeochemical measurements, metal concentrations and bacterial communities revealed a positive correlation of Chthoniobacter/Bradyrhizobium spp., to THg whereas Burkholderia spp., correlated with MeHg. Penicillium spp., correlated with THg whereas Trichoderma spp., and Aspergillus spp., correlated with MeHg, from the MT approach. This is the first metagenomics-based assessment, isolation and characterization of soil-borne bacterial and fungal communities colonizing the diffusion chambers (DC) and microbial traps (MT) established with long-term metal contaminated soils. Overall, this study provides proof-of-concept for the successful application of DC/MT based assessment of mercury resistant (HgR) microbiomes in legacy metal-contaminated soils, having complex contamination issues. Overall, this study brings out the significance of microbial communities and their relevance in context to heavy metal cycling for better stewardship and restoration of such historically contaminated systems.

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