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Tracing long-distance electron transfer and cable bacteria in freshwater sediments by agar pillar gradient columns

Title data

Sachs, Corinna ; Kanaparthi, Dheeraj ; Kublik, Susanne ; Szalay, Anna Roza ; Schloter, Michael ; Damgaard, Lars Riis ; Schramm, Andreas ; Lüders, Tillmann:
Tracing long-distance electron transfer and cable bacteria in freshwater sediments by agar pillar gradient columns.
In: FEMS Microbiology Ecology. (2022) .
ISSN 1574-6941
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiac042

Abstract in another language

Cable bacteria (CB) perform electrogenic sulphur oxidation (e-SOX) by spatially separating redox-half-reactions over cm-distances. For freshwater systems, the ecology of CB is not yet well understood, partly because they proved difficult to cultivate. This study introduces a new “agar pillar” approach to selectively enrich and investigate CB-populations. Within sediment columns, a central agar pillar is embedded, providing a sediment-free gradient-system in equilibrium with the surrounding sediment. We incubated freshwater sediments from a streambed, a sulfidic lake, and a hydrocarbon polluted aquifer in such agar pillar columns. Microprofiling revealed typical patterns of e-SOx, such as the development of a suboxic zone and the establishment of electric potentials. The bacterial communities in the sediments and agar pillars were analysed over depth by PacBio near-full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, allowing for a precise phylogenetic placement of taxa detected. The selective niche of the agar pillar was preferentially colonized by CB related to Candidatus Electronema for surface-water sediments, including several potentially novel species, but not for putative groundwater CB affiliated with Desulfurivibrio spp. The presence of CB was seemingly linked to co-enriched fermenters, hinting at a possible role of e-SOx-populations as an electron sink for heterotrophic microbes. These findings add to our current understanding of the diversity and ecology of CB in freshwater systems, and to a discrimination of CB from surface and groundwater sediments. The agar pillar approach provides a new strategy that may facilitate the cultivation of redox gradient-dependent microorganisms, including previously unrecognized CB populations.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: freshwater cable bacteria; agar pillar columns; PacBio near-full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing; sediment microprofiling; electrogenic sulphur oxidation (e-SOX)
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Ecological Microbiology > Chair Ecological Microbiology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Tillmann Lüders
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 07:24
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 07:35
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/69530