Microbes and Environments
Online ISSN : 1347-4405
Print ISSN : 1342-6311
ISSN-L : 1342-6311
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Research Highlight
Regular Papers
  • Diana Mohd-Nor, Norhayati Ramli, Siti Suhailah Sharuddin, Mohd Ali Has ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 121-128
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: March 21, 2019
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    Despite efforts to address the composition of the microbial community during the anaerobic treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME), its composition in relation to biodegradation in the full-scale treatment system has not yet been extensively examined. Therefore, a thorough analysis of bacterial and archaeal communities was performed in the present study using MiSeq sequencing at the different stages of the POME treatment, which comprised anaerobic as well as facultative anaerobic and aerobic processes, including the mixed raw effluent (MRE), mixing pond, holding tank, and final discharge phases. Based on the results obtained, the following biodegradation processes were suggested to occur at the different treatment stages: (1) Lactobacillaceae (35.9%) dominated the first stage, which contributed to high lactic acid production; (2) the higher population of Clostridiaceae in the mixing pond (47.7%) and Prevotellaceae in the holding tank (49.7%) promoted acetic acid production; (3) the aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaetaceae (0.6–0.8%) played a role in acetic acid degradation in the open digester and closed reactor for methane generation; (4) Syntrophomonas (21.5–29.2%) appeared to be involved in the degradation of fatty acids and acetic acid by syntrophic cooperation with the hydrogenotrophic methanogen, Methanobacteriaceae (0.6–1.3%); and (5) the phenols and alcohols detected in the early phases, but not in the final discharge phase, indicated the successful degradation of lignocellulosic materials. The present results contribute to a better understanding of the biodegradation mechanisms involved in the different stages of the full-scale treatment of POME.

  • Donggeon Choi, Seungdae Oh
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 129-135
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: February 23, 2019
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    Chloroxylenol (CHL) is an antimicrobial ingredient that is frequently used in antiseptics/disinfectants for skin (e.g. hand soap) and non-living surfaces. CHL is an alternative to triclosan and triclocarban, the use of which has recently been banned in some countries. Accordingly, the more widespread use of CHL may significantly increase its occurrence and level in aquatic environments in the near future, eventually resulting in potential ecological risks. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) may be a point source of CHL in natural environments due to extensive discharge through urban waste stream disposal. While the satisfactory removal of CHL in WWTPs is critical for maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems, the extent of CHL removal and whether CHL causes system upset/failure in WWTPs currently remain unknown. In the present study, we conducted bioreactor operation and batch experiments to investigate the fate and effects of CHL and elucidate the mechanisms underlying degradation at various levels from environmentally relevant to high levels (0.5–5 mg L−1). Bioreactors partially removed CHL (44–87%) via a largely biological route. Microbial association networks constructed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing data revealed selective enrichment and a correlation between Sphingobium and CHL, implying its involvement in the biological breakdown of CHL through dehalogenation and ring hydroxylation pathways. The present results provide insights into the behavior and effects of CHL in activated sludge communities and important information for the sustainable management of CHL that may be an emerging issue in the urban water cycle.

  • Tatsuya Kuranishi, Jun-ichiro Sekiguchi, Izumi Yanagisawa, Makoto Akiw ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 136-145
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: March 28, 2019
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    Although Pantoea species are widely distributed among plants, water, soils, humans, and animals, due to a lack of efficient isolation methods, the clonality of Pantoea species is poorly characterized. Therefore, we developed a new semi-selective medium designated ‘lysine-ornithine-mannitol-arginine-charcoal’ (LOMAC) to isolate these species. In an inclusive and exclusive study examining 94 bacterial strains, all Pantoea strains exhibited yellow colonies on LOMAC medium. The performance of the medium was assessed using Pantoea-spiked soils. Percent average agreement relative to the Api20E biochemical test was 97%. A total of 24 soil spot samples and 19 plant types were subjected to practical trials. Of the 91 yellow colonies selected on LOMAC medium, 81 were correctly identified as Pantoea species using the biochemical test. The sequencing of 16S rRNA (rrs) and gyrB from these isolates confirmed that Pantoea agglomerans, P. vagans, P. ananatis, and P. deleyi were present in Japanese fields. A phylogenetic analysis using rrs enabled only the limited separation of strains within each Pantoea spp., whereas an analysis using gyrB revealed higher variability and enabled the finer resolution of distinct branches. P. agglomerans isolates were divided into 3 groups, 2 of which were new clades, with the other comprising a large group including biocontrol strains. P. vagans was also in one of the new clades. The present results indicate that LOMAC medium is useful for screening Pantoea species. The use of LOMAC medium will provide new opportunities for identifying the beneficial properties of Japanese Pantoea isolates.

  • Hiroshi Asakura, Junko Sakata, Hiromi Nakamura, Shiori Yamamoto, Satos ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 146-154
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: March 21, 2019
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    The phylogenetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of Campylobacter coli from humans and animals in Japan between 2008 and 2014 were investigated. A total of 338 foodborne campylobacterioses were reported in Osaka, and C. coli was isolated from 38 cases (11.2%). In the present study, 119 C. coli strains (42 from humans, 25 each from poultry, cattle, and swine, and 2 from wild mallard) were examined by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). MLST assigned 36 sequence types (STs), including 14 novel STs; all human strains and 91% of animal strains (70/77) were assigned to the ST-828 clonal complex. The predominant human ST was ST-860 (18/42, 43%), followed by ST-1068 (8/42, 19%); these STs were also predominant in poultry (ST-860, 9/25, 36%) and cattle (ST-1068, 18/25, 72%). ST-1562 was only predominant in swine (11/25, 44.0%). Swine strains showed the greatest resistance to erythromycin (EM; 92.0%), while EM resistance was only found in 2 out of the 42 human strains examined (4.8%). All EM-resistant swine strains (n=15) exhibited a common point mutation in the 23S rRNA sequence (A2085G), and the tetO gene was detected in 22 out of the 23 TET-resistant swine strains. A whole genome sequencing analysis of four representative swine ST-1562 strains revealed abundant AMR-associated gene clusters in their genomes, suggesting horizontal gene transfer events during host adaptation. This is the first study to demonstrate the phylogenetic diversity and AMR profiles of C. coli in Japan. The present results suggest that poultry and cattle are major reservoirs, improving our knowledge on the epidemiological and ecological traits of this pathogen.

  • Nahoko Uchi, Mitsutaka Fukudome, Narumi Nozaki, Miyuzu Suzuki, Ken-ich ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 155-160
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: March 21, 2019
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    Aphids have a mutualistic relationship with the bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola. We previously reported seven cysteine-rich peptides in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum and named them Bacteriocyte-specific Cysteine-Rich (BCR) peptides; these peptides are exclusively expressed in bacteriocytes, special aphid cells that harbor symbionts. Similar symbiotic organ-specific cysteine-rich peptides identified in the root nodules of leguminous plants are named Nodule-specific Cysteine-Rich (NCR) peptides. NCR peptides target rhizobia in the nodules and are essential for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. A BacA (membrane protein) mutant of Sinorhizobium is sensitive to NCR peptides and is unable to establish symbiosis. Based on the structural and expressional similarities between BCR peptides and NCR peptides, we hypothesized that aphid BCR peptides exhibit antimicrobial activity, similar to some NCR peptides. We herein synthesized BCR peptides and investigated their antimicrobial activities and effects on the bacterial membrane of Escherichia coli. The peptides BCR1, BCR3, BCR5, and BCR8 exhibited antimicrobial activities with increased membrane permeability. An sbmA mutant of E. coli, a homolog of bacA of S. meliloti, was more sensitive to BCR peptides than the wild type. Our results suggest that BCR peptides have properties that may be required to control the endosymbiont, similar to NCR peptides in legumes.

  • Analhuda Abdullah Tahir, Nor Farhana Mohd Barnoh, Nurtasbiyah Yusof, N ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 161-168
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: April 23, 2019
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    Oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB) are the most abundant, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly lignocellulosic biomass in Malaysia. Investigations on the microbial diversity of decaying OPEFB may reveal microbes with complex enzymes that have the potential to enhance the conversion of lignocellulose into second-generation biofuels as well as the production of other value-added products. In the present study, fungal and bacterial diversities in decaying OPEFB were identified using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene and V4 region of the 18S rRNA gene. Fungal diversity in decaying OPEFB was dominated by the phylum Ascomycota (14.43%), while most of the bacterial sequences retrieved belonged to Proteobacteria (76.71%). Three bacterial strains isolated from decaying OPEFB, designated as S18, S20, and S36, appeared to grow with extracted OPEFB-lignin and Kraft lignin (KL) as the sole carbon source. 16S rRNA gene sequencing identified the 3 isolates as Paenibacillus sp.. The molecular weight distribution of KL before and after degradation showed significant depolymerization when treated with bacterial strains S18, S20, and S36. The presence of low-molecular-weight lignin-related compounds, such as vanillin and 2-methoxyphenol derivatives, which were detected by a GC-MS analysis, confirmed the KL-degrading activities of isolated Paenibacillus strains.

  • Liyuan Hou, Anyi Hu, Shaohua Chen, Kaisong Zhang, Sandi Orlić, Azhar R ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 169-179
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: April 16, 2019
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    Limited information is currently available on the assembly processes (deterministic vs. stochastic) shaping the compositions of key microbial communities in activated sludge (AS). The relative importance of deterministic and stochastic processes for key bacterial and archaeal assemblages (i.e., core-satellite and habitat generalist-specialist) in AS from 13 wastewater treatment plants in China was investigated using 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing. The results obtained indicated 1,388 and 369 core operational taxonomic units (OTUs), 1,038 and 1,683 satellite OTUs, 255 and 48 habitat generalist OTUs, and 192 and 111 habitat specialist OTUs for Bacteria and Archaea, respectively. The proportions of shared OTUs between core and habitat specialist communities were similar to or higher than those between core and habitat generalist communities, suggesting a stronger inter-linkage between the former two groups. Deterministic processes, indicated by abundance-based β-null models, were responsible for shaping core communities, in which NH4-N, OrgC/OrgN, Cr, and Ni were the main controlling factors. In contrast, satellite communities were predominantly influenced by stochastic processes. Moreover, we found that deterministic and stochastic processes were mainly responsible for shaping the assembly of habitat specialists and generalists, respectively. However, the influence of deterministic factors on habitat specialists remains unclear. The present study provides novel insights into the assembly mechanisms of AS microbial communities.

  • Nengfei Wang, Yudong Guo, Gaoyang Li, Yan Xia, Mingyang Ma, Jiaye Zang ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 180-190
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: June 07, 2019
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    Lakes of meltwater in the Artic have become one of the transforming landscape changes under global warming. We herein compared microbial communities between sediments and bank soils at an arctic lake post land submergence using geochemistry, 16S rRNA amplicons, and metagenomes. The results obtained showed that each sample had approximately 2,609 OTUs on average and shared 1,716 OTUs based on the 16S rRNA gene V3–V4 region. Dominant phyla in sediments and soils included Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Nitrospirae; sediments contained a unique phylum, Euryarchaeota, with the phylum Thaumarchaeota being primarily present in bank soils. Among the top 35 genera across all sites, 17 were more abundant in sediments, while the remaining 18 were more abundant in bank soils; seven out of the top ten genera across all sites were only from sediments. A redundancy analysis separated sediment samples from soil samples based on the components of nitrite and ammonium. Metagenome results supported the role of nitrite because most of the genes for denitrification and methane metabolic genes were more abundant in sediments than in soils, while the abundance of phosphorus-utilizing genes was similar and, thus, was not a significant explanatory factor. We identified several modules from the global networks of OTUs that were closely related to some geochemical factors, such as pH and nitrite. Collectively, the present results showing consistent changes in geochemistry, microbiome compositions, and functional genes suggest an ecological mechanism across molecular and community levels that structures microbiomes post land submergence.

  • Makoto Shirakawa, Iwao Uehara, Megumi Tanaka
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 191-198
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: May 11, 2019
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    We investigated whether ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal species exhibit antibacterial activity towards culturable bacterial communities in mycorrhizospheres. Four hundred and thirty bacterial strains were isolated from the ECM root tips of Pinus densiflora and bulk soil, and 21 were co-cultured with six ECM fungal species. Three hundred and twenty-nine bacterial 16S rDNA sequences were identified in ECM roots (n=185) and bulk soil (n=144). Mycorrhizosphere isolates were dominated by Gram-negative Proteobacteria from 16 genera, including Burkholderia, Collimonas, Paraburkholderia, and Rhizobium. Paraburkholderia accounted for approximately 60%. In contrast, bulk soil isolates contained a high number of Gram-positive Firmicutes, particularly from Bacillus. Paraburkholderia accounted for ≤20% of the bacterial isolates from bulk soil, which was significantly lower than its percentage in ECM root tips. Co-cultures of six ECM fungal species with the 21 bacterial strains revealed that eight strains of three Gram-positive genera—Arthrobacter, Bacillus, and Lysinibacillus—were sensitive to the antibacterial activity of the fungi. In contrast, the Gram-negative strains, including five Paraburkholderia strains, two Burkholderia strains, and a Rhizobium sp., were not sensitive. The strength of fungal antibacterial activity varied in a species-dependent manner, but consistently affected Gram-positive bacteria. These results suggest that Gram-positive bacteria are excluded from the mycorrhizosphere by the antibacterial activity of ECM fungi, which develops specific soil bacterial communities in the mycorrhizosphere.

  • Hideyuki Ihara, Tomoyuki Hori, Tomo Aoyagi, Hiroki Hosono, Mitsuru Tak ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 199-205
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: June 11, 2019
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    With a focus on marine sediment launched by the tsunami accompanying the Great East Japan Earthquake, we examined the vertical (i.e., depths of 0–2, 2–10, and 10–20 mm) profiles of reduced inorganic sulfur species and microbial community using a newly improved sulfur-fractionation method and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. S0 accumulated at the largest quantities at a depth of 2–10 mm, while the reduced forms of sulfur, such as iron(II) sulfide and pyrite, were abundant below 2 mm of the sediment. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) related to chemolithotrophically sulfur-oxidizing Sulfurimonas denitrificans and Sulfurimonas autotrophica were only predominant at 2–10 mm, suggesting the involvement of these OTUs in the oxidation of sulfide to S0. In addition, Desulfocapsa sulfexigens, which is capable of chemolithotrophically disproportionating S0, prevailed at the same depth, indicating that accumulated S0 was converted to sulfate and sulfide. Although no significant differences were observed in sulfate concentrations across the depths examined, specific species of chemoorganotrophic sulfate reducers, i.e., Desulfotignum toluenicum and Desulfosalsimonas propionicica, showed significantly higher abundance at a depth of 2–10 mm than at the other depths examined. Organic matter potentially generated from sulfur oxidation and disproportionation may have served as the carbon source for the growth of these sulfate reducers. The present results demonstrated that sulfur oxidizers, a sulfur disproportionator, and sulfate reducers played vital roles in sulfur cycling with S0 as the key inorganic sulfur species in the oxic-anoxic boundary layer of the launched marine sediment.

  • Bayanjargal Sandagdorj, Chisato Hamajima, Takeshi Kawahara, Jun Watana ...
    Type: Regular Papers
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 206-214
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: June 06, 2019
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    Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) exert beneficial health effects by regulating immune responses. Brassica rapa L., known as Nozawana, is commonly consumed as a lactic acid-fermented food called nozawana-zuke. Few studies have investigated changes in the bacterial community and cytokine production activities during the fermentation of B. rapa L. In order to obtain more detail information, we herein conducted a study on fresh B. rapa L. fermented for 28 d. An amplicon analysis of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that Lactobacillales predominated during fermentation, and the microbiota became less diverse on day 7 or later. Fermented B. rapa L. promoted the production of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-10 by mouse spleen cells more than non-fermented vegetables. Lactobacillus curvatus was the predominant species during fermentation, followed by L. plantarum and L. brevis. L. sakei was occasionally detected. A correlation analysis showed that IFN-γ concentrations positively correlated with the numbers of L. curvatus and L. plantarum, while those of IL-10 correlated with the numbers of L. sakei in addition to these 2 species. Significantly higher levels of IFN-γ and IL-10 were induced by fermented B. rapa L. when isolated Lactobacillus strains were added as starter cultures. These results suggest that the Lactobacillus species present in fermented B. rapa L. are beneficial for manufacturing vegetables with immunomodulatory effects.

Short Communications
  • Takafumi Kataoka, Atsushi Ooki, Daiki Nomura
    Type: Short Communication
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 215-218
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: February 15, 2019
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    The responses of bacterial communities to halocarbon were examined using a 28-d incubation of bromoform- and methanol-enriched subarctic surface seawater. Significant increases were observed in dibromomethane concentrations and bacterial 16S rRNA gene copy numbers in the treated substrates incubated for 13 d. The accumulated bacterial community was investigated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and amplicon analyses. The dominant genotypes corresponded to the genera Roseobacter, Lentibacter, and Amylibacter; the family Flavobacteriaceae; and the phylum Planctomycetes, including methylotrophs of the genus Methylophaga and the family Methylophilaceae. Therefore, various phylotypes responded along with the dehalogenation processes in subarctic seawater.

  • Tsubasa Ohbayashi, Hideomi Itoh, Joy Lachat, Yoshitomo Kikuchi, Peter ...
    Type: Short Communication
    2019 Volume 34 Issue 2 Pages 219-222
    Published: 2019
    Released: June 27, 2019
    [Advance publication] Released: June 06, 2019
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    Insects of the heteropteran superfamilies Coreoidea and Lygaeoidea are consistently associated with symbionts of a specific group of the genus Burkholderia, called the “stinkbug-associated beneficial and environmental (SBE)” group. The symbiosis is maintained by the environmental transmission of symbionts. We investigated European and Japanese populations of the dock bug Coreus marginatus (Coreoidea: Coreidae). High nymphal mortality in reared aposymbiotic insects suggested an obligate host-symbiont association in this species. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that all 173 individuals investigated were colonized by Burkholderia, which were further assigned to different subgroups of the SBE in a region-dependent pattern.

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