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Microbes Environ. 2012;27(2):149-57.

Microbial community analysis in the roots of aquatic plants and isolation of novel microbes including an organism of the candidate phylum OP10.

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Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, 4-3-11 Takeda, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-8511, Japan.


A number of molecular ecological studies have revealed complex and unique microbial communities in various terrestrial plant roots; however, little is known about the microbial communities of aquatic plant roots in spite of their potential use for water quality improvement in aquatic environments (e.g. floating treatment wetland system). Here, we report the microbial communities inhabiting the roots of emerged plants, reed (Phragmites australis) and Japanese loosestrife (Lythrum anceps), collected from a floating treatment wetland in a pond by both culture-independent and culture-dependent approaches. Culture-independent analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the microbial compositions between the two aquatic plant roots were clearly different (e.g. the predominant microbe was Betaproteobacteria for reed and Alphaproteobacteria for Japanese loosestrife). In comparisons of microbial communities between the plant roots and pond water taken from near the plants, the microbial diversity in the plant roots (e.g. 4.40-4.26 Shannon-Weiner index) were higher than that of pond water (e.g. 3.15 Shannon-Weiner index). Furthermore, the plant roots harbored 2.5-3.5 times more phylogenetically novel clone phylotypes than pond water. The culture-dependent approach also revealed differences in the microbial composition and diversity among the two plant roots and pond water. More importantly, compared to pond water, we succeeded in isolating approximately two times more novel isolate phylotypes, including a bacterium of candidate phylum OP10 (recently named Armatimonadetes) from the plant roots. These findings suggest that aquatic plants roots are significant sources for a variety of novel organisms.

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