Microbes and Environments
Online ISSN : 1347-4405
Print ISSN : 1342-6311
ISSN-L : 1342-6311
Volume 28 , Issue 1
Showing 1-21 articles out of 21 articles from the selected issue
Research Highlight
Minireviews
  • Kengo Kubota
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 3-12
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 31, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has become a standard technique in environmental microbiology. More than 20 years have passed since this technique was first described, and it is currently used for the detection of ribosomal RNA, messenger RNA, and functional genes encoded on chromosomes. This review focuses on the advancement and applications of FISH combined with catalyzed reporter deposition (CARD, also known as tyramide signal amplification or TSA), in the detection of environmental microorganisms. Significant methodological improvements have been made in CARD-FISH technology, including its combination with other techniques and instruments.
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  • Yosuke Tashiro, Yutaka Yawata, Masanori Toyofuku, Hiroo Uchiyama, Nobu ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 13-24
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: January 30, 2013
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Microbes interact with each other in multicellular communities and this interaction enables certain microorganisms to survive in various environments. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly adaptable bacterium that ubiquitously inhabits diverse environments including soil, marine habitats, plants and animals. Behind this adaptivity, P. aeruginosa has abilities not only to outcompete others but also to communicate with each other to develop a multispecies community. In this review, we focus on how P. aeruginosa interacts with other microorganisms. P. aeruginosa secretes antimicrobial chemicals to compete and signal molecules to cooperate with other organisms. In other cases, it directly conveys antimicrobial enzymes to other bacteria using the Type VI secretion system (T6SS) or membrane vesicles (MVs). Quorum sensing is a central regulatory system used to exert their ability including antimicrobial effects and cooperation with other microbes. At least three quorum sensing systems are found in P. aeruginosa, Las, Rhl and Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) systems. These quorum-sensing systems control the synthesis of extracellular antimicrobial chemicals as well as interaction with other organisms via T6SS or MVs. In addition, we explain the potential of microbial interaction analysis using several micro devices, which would bring fresh sensitivity to the study of interspecies interaction between P. aeruginosa and other organisms.
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Regular Papers
  • Masaaki Konishi, Tomo-o Watsuji, Satoshi Nakagawa, Yuji Hatada, Ken Ta ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 25-32
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    To investigate the effects of H2S on the bacterial consortia on the galatheid crab, Shinkaia crosnieri, crabs of this species were cultivated in the laboratory under two different conditions, with and without hydrogen sulfide feeding. We developed a novel rearing tank system equipped with a feedback controller using a semiconductor sensor for hydrogen sulfide feeding. H2S aqueous concentration was successfully maintained between 5 to 40 μM for 80 d with the exception of brief periods of mechanical issues. According to real-time PCR analysis, the numbers of copies of partial 16S rRNA gene of an episymbiont of the crabs with H2S feeding was three orders of magnitude larger than that without feeding. By phylogenetic analysis of partial 16S rRNA gene, we detected several clones related to symbionts of deep sea organisms in Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Epsilonproteobacteria, and Flavobacteria, from a crab with H2S feeding. The symbiont-related clones were grouped into four different groups: Gammaproteobacteria in marine epibiont group I, Sulfurovum-affiliated Epsilonproteobacteria, Osedax mucofloris endosymbiont-affiliated Epsilonproteobacteria, and Flavobacteria closely related to CFB group bacterial epibiont of Rimicaris exoculata. The other phylotypes were related to Roseobacter, and some Flavobacteria, seemed to be free-living psychrophiles. Furthermore, white biofilm occurred on the surface of the rearing tank with H2S feeding. The biofilms contained various phylotypes of Gammaproteobacteria, Epsilonproteobacteria, and Flavobacteria, as determined by phylogenetic analysis. Interestingly, major clones were related to symbionts of Alviniconcha sp. type 2 and to endosymbionts of Osedax mucofloris, in Epsilonproteobacteria.
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  • Rakshak Kumar, Macmillan Nongkhlaw, Celin Acharya, Santa Ram Joshi
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 33-41
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Uranium (U)-tolerant aerobic chemo-heterotrophic bacteria were isolated from the sub-surface soils of U-rich deposits in Domiasiat, North East India. The bacterial community explored at molecular level by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) resulted in 51 distinct phylotypes. Bacterial community assemblages at the U mining site with the concentration of U ranging from 20 to 100 ppm, were found to be most diverse. Representative bacteria analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing were affiliated to Firmicutes (51%), Gammaproteobacteria (26%), Actinobacteria (11%), Bacteroidetes (10%) and Betaproteobacteria (2%). Representative strains removed more than 90% and 53% of U from 100 μM and 2 mM uranyl nitrate solutions, respectively, at pH 3.5 within 10 min of exposure and the activity was retained until 24 h. Overall, 76% of characterized isolates possessed phosphatase enzyme and 53% had PIB-type ATPase genes. This study generated baseline information on the diverse indigenous U-tolerant bacteria which could serve as an indicator to estimate the environmental impact expected to be caused by mining in the future. Also, these natural isolates efficient in uranium binding and harbouring phosphatase enzyme and metal-transporting genes could possibly play a vital role in the bioremediation of metal-/radionuclide-contaminated environments.
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  • Hushna Ara Naznin, Minako Kimura, Mitsuo Miyazawa, Mitsuro Hyakumachi
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 42-49
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    We extracted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by a plant growth-promoting fungus (PGPF) Phoma sp. GS8-3 by gas chromatography and identified them by mass spectrometry. All of the identified compounds belonged to C4-C8 hydrocarbons. Volatiles varied in number and quantity by the culture period of the fungus (in days). 2-Methyl-propanol and 3-methyl-butanol formed the main components of the volatile blends for all the culture periods of fungus. Growth-promoting effects of the identified synthetic compounds were analyzed individually and in blends using tobacco plants. We found that the mixture of volatiles extracted from 3-day-old culture showed significant growth promotion in tobacco in vitro. The volatile blend showed better growth promotion at lower than higher concentrations. Our results confirm the potential role of volatile organic compounds in the mechanism of growth enhancement by GS8-3.
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  • Fangqiong Ling, Wen-Tso Liu
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 50-57
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 31, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    This study evaluated the continuous impact of monochloramine disinfection on laboratory-grown biofilms through the characterization of biofilm architecture and microbial community structure. Biofilm development and disinfection were achieved using CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) biofilm reactor systems with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coupons as the substratum and sand filter-pretreated groundwater as the source of microbial seeding and growth nutrient. After 2 weeks of growth, the biofilms were subjected to chloramination for 8 more weeks at concentrations of 7.5±1.4 to 9.1±0.4 mg Cl2 L-1. Control reactors received no disinfection during the development of biofilms. Confocal laser scanning microscopy and image analysis indicated that chloramination could lead to 81.4–83.5% and 86.3–95.6% reduction in biofilm biomass and thickness, respectively, but could not eliminate biofilm growth. 16S rRNA gene terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis indicated that microbial community structures between chloraminated and non-chloraminated biofilms exhibited different successional trends. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing analysis further revealed that chloramination could select members of Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria as the dominant populations, whereas natural development leads to the selection of members of Nitrospira and Bacteroidetes as dominant biofilm populations. Overall, chloramination treatment could alter the growth of multi-species biofilms on the PVC surface, shape the biofilm architecture, and select a certain microbial community that can survive or proliferate under chloramination.
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  • Indun Dewi Puspita, Moe Uehara, Taiki Katayama, Yoshitomo Kikuchi, Wat ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 58-64
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 26, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Functional variation of Rpf, a growth factor found exclusively in Actinobacteria, is differentiated by its source and amino acid sequences. Only purified Rpf proteins from three species have been studied so far. To seek new Rpfs for use in future studies to understand their role in Actinobacteria, the objective of this study was to identify rpf gene homologs in Tomitella biformata AHU 1821T, a novel Actinobacteria isolated from permafrost ice wedge. Amplification using degenerate primers targeting the essential Rpf domain led to the discovery of a new rpf gene in T. biformata. Gene structure and the deduced Rpf domain amino acid sequence indicated that this rpf gene was not identical to previously studied Rpf. Phylogenetic analysis placed T. biformata Rpf in a monophyletic branch in the RpfB subfamily. The deduced amino acid sequence was 44.9% identical to RpfB in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the closest functionally tested Rpf. The gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli; the recombinant Rpf protein (rRpf) promoted the growth of dividing cells and resuscitated non-dividing cells of T. biformata. Compared to other studies, this Rpf was required at higher concentrations to promote its growth and to resuscitate itself from a non-dividing state. The resuscitation function was likely due to the highly conserved Rpf domain. This study provides evidence that a genetically unique but functional Rpf can be found in novel members of Actinobacteria and can lead to a better understanding of bacterial cytokines in this phylum.
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  • Hiroyasu Satoh, Kenshiro Oshima, Wataru Suda, Purnika Ranasinghe, Ning ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 65-70
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 26, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The microbial population in a laboratory activated sludge reactor was monitored for 245 d at 75 time points by pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA. Synthetic wastewater was used as the influent, and the reactor was operated under the same conditions throughout the experiment. The behaviors of different bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were observed. Multiple OTUs showed periodic propagation and recession. One of the OTUs showed sharp recession, which suggests that cells in the OTU were selectively killed. The behaviors of different phylogenetic lineages of Candidatus ‘Accumulibacter phosphatis’ were also visualized. It was clearly demonstrated that pyrosequencing with barcoded primers is a very effective tool to clarify the dynamics of the bacterial population in activated sludge.
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  • Mohamed Fathallh Eida, Toshinori Nagaoka, Jun Wasaki, Kenji Kouno
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 71-80
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: October 26, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Phytate is the primary source of organic phosphorus, but it cannot be directly utilized by plants and is strongly adsorbed by the soil, reducing bioavailability. Composting is a process used to improve the bioavailability of phytate in organic wastes through degradation by microorganisms. In this study, we aimed to investigate the phytate-degrading ability of fungi and bacteria that inhabit sawdust compost and coffee residue compost, and their contribution to the composting process. In the plate assay, the fungi that formed clear zones around their colonies belonged to the genera Mucor, Penicillium, Galactomyces, Coniochaeta, Aspergillus, and Fusarium, while the bacteria belonged to the genera Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Chitinophaga, and Rahnella. Eight fungal isolates (genera Mucor, Penicillium, Galactomyces, and Coniochaeta) and four bacterial isolates (genera Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, and Rahnella) were selected to evaluate phytase activity in their liquid culture and their ability to degrade phytate in organic materials composed of mushroom media residue and rice bran. The selected fungi degraded phytate in organic materials to varying degrees. Penicillium isolates showed the highest degradation ability and Coniochaeta isolate exhibited relatively high degradation ability. The clear zone diameters of these fungal isolates displayed significantly positive and negative correlations with inorganic and phytate phosphorus contents in the organic materials after incubation, respectively; however, none of the selected bacteria reduced phytate phosphorus in organic materials. It is therefore possible that fungi are major contributors to phytate degradation during composting.
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  • Akira Ohno, Shinichiro Kataoka, Yoshikazu Ishii, Toshiaki Terasaki, Ma ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 81-86
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: November 09, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) have been banned and phased out because their use has been linked to the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens; however, the ban has had a marked impact on livestock production, and feed additive alternatives to AGPs are required. We focused on green tea leaves as potential alternatives to AGPs because they contain significant amounts of polyphenol catechins, which have antivirus and antimicrobial effects. We examined cross-resistance between epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is the most abundant catechin of green tea leaves, and commercially available antimicrobials in clinically problematic antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, and whether bacteria have the ability to acquire resistance by consecutive passage in sub-inhibitory concentrations of EGCG. EGCG did not display any cross-resistance with reference antimicrobials and the bacteria did not acquire EGCG resistance. Further, we examined the growth-promoting effects of dried green tea leaves on the breeding of a new Japanese breed, Tokyo-X pigs. While the mortality rates of the green tea leaf (GTL) and AGP groups were both 11.1% (one in nine piglets), the mortality rate was 50% for the control group with an additive-free diet (four in eight piglets). The rate of body weight increase in both the GTL and AGP groups was approximately the same. The growth-promoting effects of green tea leaves and AGPs were similar, and there was no possibility that the antimicrobial properties of catechins caused the same problem as AGPs. Thus, it can be concluded that green tea leaves are a safe feed additive alternative to AGPs.
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  • Takehisa Yano, Hiromi Kubota, Junya Hanai, Jun Hitomi, Hajime Tokuda
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 87-95
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 01, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    A comprehensive survey of microbial flora within pink biofilms in bathrooms was performed. Pink biofilms develop relatively rapidly in bathrooms, can be difficult to remove, and are quick to recur. Bacterium-sized cells were found to be predominant in 42 pink biofilms in Japan using a scanning electron microscope. Methylobacterium strains were detected from all samples in bathrooms by an isolation method. To explain this predominance, 14 biofilm samples were analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Methylobacterium was indicated to be the major genus in all biofilms. The isolated Methylobacterium survived after contact with 1.0% cleaning agents, including benzalkonium chloride for 24 h. Their tolerance did not differ under biofilm-like conditions on fiber reinforced plastics (FRP), a general material of bath tubs, floors, and walls. Also, the strains exhibited higher tolerance to desiccation than other isolated species on FRP. Some Methylobacterium survived and exhibited potential to grow after four weeks of desiccation without any nutrients. These specific characteristics could be a cause of their predominance in bathrooms, an environment with rapid flowing water, drying, low nutrients, and occasional exposure to cleaning agents.
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  • Mamoru Oshiki, Motoharu Onuki, Hiroyasu Satoh, Takashi Mino
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 96-104
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The removal of biodegradable organic matter is one of the most important objectives in biological wastewater treatments. Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-accumulating organisms (PHAAOs) significantly contribute to the removal of biodegradable organic matter; however, their microbial community composition is mostly unknown. In the present study, the microbial community composition of PHAAOs was investigated at 8 full-scale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), operated in fully aerobic mode, by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis and post-FISH Nile blue A (NBA) staining techniques. Our results demonstrated that 1) PHAAOs were in the range of 11–18% in the total number of cells, and 2) the microbial community composition of PHAAOs was similar at the bacterial domain/phylum/class/order level among the 8 full-scale WWTPs, and dominant PHAAOs were members of the class Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria. The microbial community composition of α- and β-proteobacterial PHAAOs was examined by 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis and further by applying a set of newly designed oligonucleotide probes targeting 16S rRNA gene sequences of α- or β-proteobacterial PHAAOs. The results demonstrated that the microbial community composition of PHAAOs differed in the class Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria, which possibly resulted in a different PHA accumulation capacity among the WWTPs (8.5–38.2 mg-C g-VSS-1 h-1). The present study extended the knowledge of the microbial diversity of PHAAOs in full-scale WWTPs operated in fully aerobic mode.
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  • Yuko Yoshimura, Akifumi Ido, Koji Iwase, Teruyuki Matsumoto, Masahide ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 105-111
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    We examined the colonization rate and communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the roots of Pyrus pyrifolia var. culta (Japanese pear) in orchards to investigate the effect of phosphorus (P) fertilization on AMF. Soil cores containing the roots of Japanese pear were collected from 13 orchards in Tottori Prefecture, Japan. Soil-available P in the examined orchards was 75.7 to 1,200 mg kg-1, showing the extreme accumulation of soil P in many orchards. The AMF colonization rate was negatively correlated with soil-available P (P <0.01). AMF communities were examined on the basis of the partial fungal DNA sequences of the nuclear small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSU rDNA) amplified by AMF-specific primers AML1 and AML2. The obtained AMF sequences were divided into 14 phylotypes, and the number of phylotypes (species richness) was also negatively correlated with soil-available P (P <0.05). It was also suggested that some AM fungi may be adapted to high soil-available P conditions. Redundancy analysis showed the significant effects of soil pH, available P in soil, and P content in leaves of P. pyrifolia var. culta trees on AMF distribution. These results suggested that the accumulation of soil-available P affected AMF communities in the roots of Japanese pear in the orchard environment.
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  • Natsuko Nakayama, Akihiro Fujimoto, Hisae Kawami, Yuji Tomaru, Naotsug ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 112-119
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 27, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    HcRNAV is a single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) virus that specifically infects the bivalve-killing dinoflagellate, Heterocapsa circularisquama. HcRNAV strains are grouped into 2 types (UA and CY), based on intra-species host specificity and the amino acid sequence of the major capsid protein (MCP). In the present study, we report the isolation of novel HcRNAV clones (n=51) lytic to the H. circularisquama strains, HU9433-P, HCLG-1, 05HC05 and 05HC06. HcRNAV34, HcRNAV109, HcRNAV641, and HcRNAV659, which displayed lytic activity against the strains, HU9433-P, HCLG-1, 05HC05, and 05HC06, respectively, were selected as typical virus clones and were intensively examined. The infection intensity of each host-virus combination was analyzed by examining the algicidal activity, detecting the intracellular replication of the viral RNA as well as the appearance of host cells with a morphologically abnormal nucleus post-infection. Interestingly, the strains, 05HC05 and 05HC06, were markedly sensitive to HcRNAV641 and HcRNAV659, respectively. Tertiary structural modeling predicted 4 unique amino acid (aa) substitutions in HcRNAV659-MCP to be exposed to an ambient water environment, which contributed towards determining its infection specificity. Neighbor-joining analysis of MCP aa sequences from HcRNAV clones revealed 3 clades, namely, the CY type and the UA1 and UA2 subtypes. The HcRNAV clones lytic to HCLG-1 (ex. HcRNAV109), HU9433-P and 05HC05 (ex. HcRNAV34), and 05HC06 (ex. HcRNAV659) were categorized into CY type, UA1 and UA2 subtypes, respectively. The present study highlights the complexity of the H. circularisquama-HcRNAV host-virus system, i.e., clonal variation, microbial control, and ecology in a natural algal population.
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  • Yusuke Unno, Takuro Shinano
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 120-127
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    While phytic acid is a major form of organic phosphate in many soils, plant utilization of phytic acid is normally limited; however, culture trials of Lotus japonicus using experimental field soil that had been managed without phosphate fertilizer for over 90 years showed significant usage of phytic acid applied to soil for growth and flowering and differences in the degree of growth, even in the same culture pot. To understand the key metabolic processes involved in soil phytic acid utilization, we analyzed rhizosphere soil microbial communities using molecular ecological approaches. Although molecular fingerprint analysis revealed changes in the rhizosphere soil microbial communities from bulk soil microbial community, no clear relationship between the microbiome composition and flowering status that might be related to phytic acid utilization of L. japonicus could be determined. However, metagenomic analysis revealed changes in the relative abundance of the classes Bacteroidetes, Betaproteobacteria, Chlorobi, Dehalococcoidetes and Methanobacteria, which include strains that potentially promote plant growth and phytic acid utilization, and some gene clusters relating to phytic acid utilization, such as alkaline phosphatase and citrate synthase, with the phytic acid utilization status of the plant. This study highlights phylogenetic and metabolic features of the microbial community of the L. japonicus rhizosphere and provides a basic understanding of how rhizosphere microbial communities affect the phytic acid status in soil.
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  • Mitsuro Hyakumachi, Mitsuyoshi Nishimura, Tatsuyuki Arakawa, Shinichir ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 128-134
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Bacillus thuringiensis is a naturally abundant Gram-positive bacterium and a well-known, effective bio-insecticide. Recently, B. thuringiensis has attracted considerable attention as a potential biological control agent for the suppression of plant diseases. In this study, the bacterial wilt disease-suppressing activity of B. thuringiensis was examined in tomato plants. Treatment of tomato roots with B. thuringiensis culture followed by challenge inoculation with Ralstonia solanacearum suppressed the development of wilt symptoms to less than one third of the control. This disease suppression in tomato plants was reproduced by pretreating their roots with a cell-free filtrate (CF) that had been fractionated from B. thuringiensis culture by centrifugation and filtration. In tomato plants challenge-inoculated with R. solanacearum after pretreatment with CF, the growth of R. solanacearum in stem tissues clearly decreased, and expression of defense-related genes such as PR-1, acidic chitinase, and β-1,3-glucanase was induced in stem and leaf tissues. Furthermore, the stem tissues of tomato plants with their roots were pretreated with CF exhibited resistance against direct inoculation with R. solanacearum. Taken together, these results suggest that treatment of tomato roots with the CF of B. thuringiensis systemically suppresses bacterial wilt through systemic activation of the plant defense system.
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  • Douadi Benacer, Pei Yee Woh, Siti Nursheena Mohd Zain, Fairuz Amran, K ...
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 135-140
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: January 30, 2013
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Leptospira species were studied in water and soils from selected urban sites in Malaysia. A total of 151 water (n=121) and soil (n=30) samples were collected from 12 recreational lakes and wet markets. All samples were filtered and inoculated into semi-solid Ellinghausen and McCullough modified by Johnson and Harris (EMJH) media supplemented with additional 5-fluorouracil. The cultures were then incubated at 30°C and observed under a dark field microscope with intervals of 10 days. A PCR assay targeting the rrs gene was used to confirm the genus Leptospira among the isolates. Subsequently, the pathogenic status of the isolates was determined using primer sets G1/G2 and Sapro1/Sapro2, which target the secY and rrs genes, respectively. The isolates were identified at serogroup level using the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) while their genetic diversity was assessed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Based on dark field microscopy, 23.1% (28/121) water and 23.3% (7/30) soil cultures were positive for Leptospira spp. Of the 35 positive cultures, only 8 were pure and confirmed as Leptospira genus by PCR assay. Two out of 8 isolates were confirmed as pathogenic, 5 were saprophytic and one was intermediate. These 8 isolates were negative for the 25 reference hyperimmune rabbit sera tested in the MAT. PFGE showed that all 8 of these environmental Leptospira spp. were genetically diverse. In conclusion, the presence of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in the urban Malaysian environment may indicate and highlight the importance of water screening, especially in recreational lakes, in order to minimize any chance of Leptospira infection.
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  • Souichiro Kato, Kazuhito Hashimoto, Kazuya Watanabe
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 141-148
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: January 30, 2013
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Some bacteria utilize (semi)conductive iron-oxide minerals as conduits for extracellular electron transfer (EET) to distant, insoluble electron acceptors. A previous study demonstrated that microbe/mineral conductive networks are constructed in soil ecosystems, in which Geobacter spp. share dominant populations. In order to examine how (semi)conductive iron-oxide minerals affect EET paths of Geobacter spp., the present study grew five representative Geobacter strains on electrodes as the sole electron acceptors in the absence or presence of (semi)conductive iron oxides. It was found that iron-oxide minerals enhanced current generation by three Geobacter strains, while no effect was observed in another strain. Geobacter sulfurreducens was the only strain that generated substantial amounts of currents both in the presence and absence of the iron oxides. Microscopic, electrochemical and transcriptomic analyses of G. sulfurreducens disclosed that this strain constructed two distinct types of EET path; in the absence of iron-oxide minerals, bacterial biofilms rich in extracellular polymeric substances were constructed, while composite networks made of mineral particles and microbial cells (without polymeric substances) were developed in the presence of iron oxides. It was also found that uncharacterized c-type cytochromes were up-regulated in the presence of iron oxides that were different from those found in conductive biofilms. These results suggest the possibility that natural (semi)conductive minerals confer energetic and ecological advantages on Geobacter, facilitating their growth and survival in the natural environment.
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  • Ryoji Funadani, Yasutaka Suetomo, Tatsuomi Matsuoka
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 149-152
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 27, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The first sign of excysting Colpoda cucullus cells is the initiation of the pulsation of a contractile vacuole, which is then replaced by a non-pulsating vacuole (excystment vacuole) that continues to expand and finally ruptures the outermost cyst wall (ectocyst) due to inner pressure. A ciliate surrounded by flexible membranes (endocyst) thus emerges. The osmolarity of the excysting cells is estimated to be 140 mOsm L-1 from the relationship between the frequency of contractile vacuole pulsation and the external sucrose concentration. Both the expansion of the excystment vacuole and the emergence of ciliates occurred even when the cysts were immersed in hypertonic medium. In hypotonic medium containing sodium azide (NaN3, a cytochrome c oxidase inhibitor), the contractile vacuole of vegetative cells stopped pulsating and gradually expanded, causing cells to burst. When C. cucullus was induced to encyst in a hypotonic medium containing NaN3, the expansion of the excystment vacuoles was inhibited. These results suggest that the active uptake of water may be responsible for the expansion of the excystment vacuole required for the ectocyst to rupture.
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Short Communication
  • Hoan Thi Vu, Hideomi Itoh, Satoshi Ishii, Keishi Senoo, Shigeto Otsuka
    2013 Volume 28 Issue 1 Pages 153-155
    Published: 2013
    Released: March 12, 2013
    [Advance publication] Released: December 19, 2012
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Ensifer adhaerens CSBa was screened as a cobalamin producer. The draft genome sequence revealed that the strain possesses 22 cobalamin biosynthetic genes (cob genes). The cob gene arrangement on the genome of E. adhaerens CSBa was similar to that of other Ensifer species, and most similar to that of Pseudomonas denitrificans SC510. The cobN sequence phylogeny was generally congruent with that of the 16S rRNA gene, and it is suggeted that E. adhaerens CSBa might have inherited the cob genes from common ancestors of the Ensifer species. It was also suggested that the cob genes can be laterally transferred.
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