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Journal Article

Functional diversity of microbial communities in pristine aquifers inferred by PLFA- and sequencing-based approaches

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons96463

Roth,  Vanessa-Nina
Molecular Biogeochemistry Group, Dr. G. Gleixner, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62384

Gleixner,  Gerd
Molecular Biogeochemistry Group, Dr. G. Gleixner, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62589

Trumbore,  Susan E.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

BGC2544D.pdf
(Publisher version), 2MB

BGC2544.pdf
(Publisher version), 2MB

Supplementary Material (public)

BGC2544s1.zip
(Supplementary material), 96KB

Citation

Schwab, V. F., Hermann, M., Roth, V.-N., Gleixner, G., Lehmann, R., Pohnert, G., et al. (2017). Functional diversity of microbial communities in pristine aquifers inferred by PLFA- and sequencing-based approaches. Biogeosciences, 14(10), 2697-2714. doi:10.5194/bg-14-2697-2017.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-B3C6-6
Abstract
Microorganisms in groundwater play an important role in aquifer biogeochemical cycles and water quality. However, the mechanisms linking the functional diversity of microbial populations and the groundwater physicochemistry are still not well understood due to the complexity of interactions between surface and subsurface. Here, we used phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) relative abundances to link specific biochemical markers within the microbial communities to the spatio-temporal changes of the groundwater physicochemistry. PLFAs were isolated from groundwater of two physicochemically distinct aquifer assemblages in central Germany (Thuringia). The functional diversities of the microbial communities were mainly correlated with groundwater chemistry, including dissolved O2, Fet and NH4+ concentrations. Abundances of PLFAs derived from eukaryotes and potential nitrite oxidizing bacteria (11MeC16:0 as biomarker for Nitrospira moscoviensis) were high at sites with elevated O2 concentration where groundwater recharge supplies both bioavailable organic substrates and NH4+ needed to sustain heterotrophic growth and nitrification processes. In anoxic groundwaters more rich in Fet, PLFAs abundant in sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB), iron-reducing bacteria and fungi increased with Fet and HCO3− concentrations suggesting the occurrence of active iron-reduction and the possible role of fungi in meditating iron solubilisation and transport in those aquifer domains. In NH4+ richer anoxic groundwaters, anammox bacteria and SRB- derived PLFAs increased with NH4+ concentration further evidencing the dependence of the anammox process on ammonium concentration and potential links between SRB and anammox bacteria. Additional support of the PLFA-based bacterial communities was found in DNA and RNA-based Illumina MiSeq amplicon sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes, which evidenced high predominance of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria Nitrospira e.g. Nitrospira moscoviensis in oxic zones of the aquifers and of anammox bacteria in NH4+ richer anoxic groundwater. Higher relative abundances of sequence reads in the RNA-based data sets affiliated with iron-reducing bacteria in Fet richer groundwater supported the occurrence of active dissimilatory iron-reduction. The functional diversity of the microbial communities in these biogeochemically distinct groundwater assemblages can be largely attributed to the redox conditions linked to changes in bioavailable substrates and input of substrates with the seepage. Our results demonstrate the power of complementary information derived from PLFA-based and sequencing-based approaches.