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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Aug 30;82(18):5530-41. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01327-16. Print 2016 Sep 15.

A Diverse Soil Microbiome Degrades More Crude Oil than Specialized Bacterial Assemblages Obtained in Culture.

Author information

1
Biodiversity Centre, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin Botanique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
2
Biodiversity Centre, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin Botanique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, Québec, QC, Canada.
3
Biodiversity Centre, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin Botanique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.
4
National Research Council Canada, Energy Mining and Environment, Montreal, QC, Canada.
5
National Research Council Canada, Energy Mining and Environment, Montreal, QC, Canada Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Laval, QC, Canada.
6
Biodiversity Centre, Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin Botanique de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada marc.st-arnaud@umontreal.ca.

Abstract

Soil microbiome modification may alter system function, which may enhance processes like bioremediation. In this study, we filled microcosms with gamma-irradiated soil that was reinoculated with the initial soil or cultivated bacterial subsets obtained on regular media (REG-M) or media containing crude oil (CO-M). We allowed 8 weeks for microbiome stabilization, added crude oil and monoammonium phosphate, incubated the microcosms for another 6 weeks, and then measured the biodegradation of crude oil components, bacterial taxonomy, and functional gene composition. We hypothesized that the biodegradation of targeted crude oil components would be enhanced by limiting the microbial taxa competing for resources and by specifically selecting bacteria involved in crude oil biodegradation (i.e., CO-M). Postincubation, large differences in taxonomy and functional gene composition between the three microbiome types remained, indicating that purposeful soil microbiome structuring is feasible. Although phylum-level bacterial taxonomy was constrained, operational taxonomic unit composition varied between microbiome types. Contrary to our hypothesis, the biodegradation of C10 to C50 hydrocarbons was highest when the original microbiome was reinoculated, despite a higher relative abundance of alkane hydroxylase genes in the CO-M microbiomes and of carbon-processing genes in the REG-M microbiomes. Despite increases in the relative abundances of genes potentially linked to hydrocarbon processing in cultivated subsets of the microbiome, reinoculation of the initial microbiome led to maximum biodegradation.

IMPORTANCE:

In this study, we show that it is possible to sustainably modify microbial assemblages in soil. This has implications for biotechnology, as modification of gut microbial assemblages has led to improved treatments for diseases like Clostridium difficile infection. Although the soil environment determined which major phylogenetic groups of bacteria would dominate the assemblage, we saw differences at lower levels of taxonomy and in functional gene composition (e.g., genes related to hydrocarbon degradation). Further studies are needed to determine the success of such an approach in nonsterile environments. Although the biodegradation of certain crude oil fractions was still the highest when we inoculated with the diverse initial microbiome, the possibility of discovering and establishing microbiomes that are more efficient in crude oil degradation is not precluded.

PMID:
27371586
PMCID:
PMC5007768
[Available on 2017-02-28]
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.01327-16
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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