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The bacterial microbiome of symbiotic and menthol-bleached polyps of long-term aquarium-reared Galaxea fascicularis

An important step forward in deciphering coral symbiosis through manipulative approaches

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Tony Robinet and 1 anonymous reviewer

As complex multipartite interactions among the coral host and coral-associated microbial entities including the dinoflagellate symbionts, bacteria, archaea and viruses, have been appreciated, a manipulatable, less-complex study system is desired to deepen our functional understanding of this fascinating symbiotic system. Among experimental manipulation approaches, removal of the algal symbionts using menthol is widely implemented; however, its effect on the rest of the coral-associated symbiotic members has not been explored, which is critical knowledge to assess experimental works using this popular method. This preprint by Puntin et al. (https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.08.23.554380) presents an important observation in this aspect. Their initial observations suggest that menthol-induced coral bleaching introduces stochastic changes in associated bacterial communities, which resemble dysbiosis, making bacterial communities more dissimilar from each other. They also observed low taxonomic diversity in bacterial communities on the corals maintained in aquaria over several months, worth noting as a positive value as an experimental system. Their data are preliminary by nature, while they present intriguing ideas that warrant further studies.

Reference

Puntin G, Wong JCY, Röthig T, Baker DM, Sweet M, Ziegler M (2024). The bacterial microbiome of symbiotic and menthol-bleached polyps of long-term aquarium-reared Galaxea fascicularis (2024). bioRxiv, ver.4., peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.08.23.554380 

 

The bacterial microbiome of symbiotic and menthol-bleached polyps of long-term aquarium-reared *Galaxea fascicularis*Giulia Puntin, Jane C.Y. Wong, Till Roethig, David M. Baker, Michael Sweet, Maren Ziegler<p>Coral reefs support the livelihood of half a billion people but are at high risk of collapse due to the vulnerability of corals to climate change and local anthropogenic stressors. While understanding coral functioning is essential to guide con...Microbial symbiosis, MicrobiomesYui Sato2023-08-26 04:50:01 View
10 May 2024
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Molybdate delays sulphide formation in the sediment and transfer to the bulk liquid in a model shrimp pond

Addition of molybdate to shrimp ponds is a promising new technique to delay the accumulation of toxic H2S

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

Shrimp aquaculture ponds are an established technology that helps answer the demand for high-protein food while reducing the impact of fishing on the oceans.

However, as a closed system, high in organic matter, aquaculture ponds in general and those used for shrimp in particular tend to develop anoxic sediments and favour sulfate reduction to H2S. The development of hydrogen sulphide, in return, is toxic to the shrimp and can lead to lower yields.

A standard solution to the problem is to inject air into the sediments. However, this solution requires additional infrastructure, is costly to operate, and can also disturb other essential life forms in the pond, such as benthic plants. 

In this work by Torun et al. (2024), the authors used a carefully designed lab model of shrimp ponds to show that the addition of molybdate at concentrations as low as 5 mg/l delayed the accumulation of H2S and pushed the zone rich in sulphide deeper into the sediment.

The postulated mechanism for the inhibition in H2S production is that molybdate binds to the ATP sulfurylase in sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB), and together with ATP, they generate adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate (APS) that cannot be used as an electron acceptor.

Surprisingly, however, the growth of SRB was stimulated rather than inhibited in this experiment. While the exact cause remains unknown, the authors postulate that SRB resorted to alternative metabolic pathways such as fermentation.

Overall, while this work was done on a model system in the lab, adding molybdate to shrimp aquaculture ponds is a promising technique and should be tested on a larger scale.

Reference

Torun F, Hostins B, Schryver PD, Boon N, Vrieze JD. (2024). Molybdate delays sulphide formation in the sediment and transfer to the bulk liquid in a model shrimp pond. bioRxiv, ver.3, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community In Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.11.16.567380

Molybdate delays sulphide formation in the sediment and transfer to the bulk liquid in a model shrimp pondFunda Torun, Barbara Hostins, Peter De Schryver, Nico Boon, Jo De Vrieze<p>Shrimp are commonly cultured in earthen aquaculture ponds where organic-rich uneaten feed and faeces accumulate on and in the sediment to form anaerobic zones. Since the pond water is rich in sulphate, these anaerobic conditions eventually lead...Microbial biotechnology, Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology, MicrobiomesRoey Angel2023-11-20 12:08:51 View
12 Apr 2024
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Bacterial pathogens dynamic during multi-species infections

Unraveling disease ecology: insights from soft rot Pectobacteriaceae co-infections

Recommended by based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

Few studies deal with the understanding of disease ecology, especially in the agricultural domain. Soft rot Pectobacteriaceae are major plant pathogens that frequently co-infect potato tubers. Exploring their ecological relationships can provide valuable insights for effective monitoring and preventing disease. The study of Barny et al (2024) explores the dynamics of synthetic communities of soft rot Pectobacterium species (SRP) following in vitro and in vivo inoculations, focusing on the implications for disease development. To delve into co-infection dynamics, the authors constructed mixed populations comprising six strains, with three strains from each of two species. Through inoculations of both liquid cultures and potatoes, they observed outcomes using amplicon sequencing targeting the gapA gene, along with monitoring bacterial population sizes and symptoms on potato tubers. Results reveal intriguing patterns: competition among strains of the same species, cooperation through trophic interactions, and interference due to toxicity. Thanks to a modelling approach, they suggest that the presence of a cheater strain may be favoured when it is associated with an aggressive strain. This finding is crucial for field sampling strategies, as there is a risk that during an outbreak, only the cheater strain may be detected, potentially overlooking the problematic aggressive strain. 

While the study conducted by Barny et al. (2024) provides valuable insights into strain interactions, it also highlights areas for further exploration to enhance understanding. First, the extent to which different species occupy similar niches in real agricultural scenarios remains unclear. Additionally, comparative genomics analysis on strains and investigating specific gene candidates could offer valuable mechanistic insights into strain dynamics. These areas for future research offer chances to build up our knowledge base in this field and improve how we understand the interactions between bacteria in nature. The implications of the study extend beyond plant pathogens like SRP. Similar scenarios of complex diseases involving closely related species or strains competing within the same niche are observed in human pathogens as well.

Reference

Barny, M.-A., Thieffry, S., Gomes de Faria, C., Thebault, E., Pedron, J. (2024). Bacterial pathogens dynamic during multi-species infections. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.12.06.570389

 

Bacterial pathogens dynamic during multi-species infectionsMarie-Anne Barny, Sylvia Thieffry, Christelle Gomes de Faria, Elisa Thebault, Jacques Pedron<p>Soft rot Pectobacteriacea (SRP) gathers more than 30 bacterial species that collectively rot a wide range of plants by producing and secreting a large set of plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs). Worldwide potato field surveys identified ...Microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions, Microbial ecology and environmental microbiologyClara Torres-Barceló2023-12-12 17:54:07 View
04 Jan 2024
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Diversity of bacterial symbionts associated with the tropical plant bug Monalonion velezangeli (Hemiptera: Miridae) revealed by high-throughput 16S-rRNA sequencing

Shedding light on bacteria associated with an agricultural pest, the tropical plant bug Monalonion velezangeli: a foundational descriptive study

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

The paper "Diversity of bacterial symbionts associated with the tropical plant bug Monalonion velezangeli (Hemiptera: Miridae) revealed by high-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing" by Navarro-Escalante et al. (2023) is a valuable contribution to entomological research, particularly in the context of pest management. This descriptive study, while not delving into the functional characterization of the associated bacterial strains, lays an essential groundwork for understanding the bacterial components of the microbiota of this agricultural pest. This study is interesting because it provides new information on insect microbiota, especially in a family for which the knowledge of the diversity of bacterial symbionts is very limited.

One of the study's core strengths lies in its exploration and definition of the core microbiota of M. velezangeli, which could serve as a foundation for future research aimed at pest control strategies. The use of 16S rRNA sequencing, despite its known limitations, has enabled the profiling of these bacterial communities. The paper highlights the absence of differences in the bacterial communities associated with the nymph and adult stages of the pest, indicating a stable association of these microbes throughout the insect's life cycle.

A standout point in the study is the overwhelming presence of the symbiont Wolbachia, accounting for approximately 92% of the bacterial composition. However, intriguingly, the authors also note the absence of Wolbachia in some individuals, suggesting a more complex dynamic that warrants further investigation. This finding is particularly noteworthy, as it opens up questions about the role of Wolbachia and its impact on the biology and ecology of M. velezangeli.

The researchers have carefully addressed all the reviewers’ comments and suggestions. They also addressed a potential bias in their study - the overwhelming presence of Wolbachia - by analyzing the bacterial community after the removal of Wolbachia sequences. This careful approach enriches the study's credibility and ensures a more accurate representation of the pest's microbiota.

The identification of potentially culturable strains within the core microbiome represents an interesting perspective of this research. This information could be used in future efforts to develop pest control strategies, particularly those employing paratransgenic approaches. The possibility of manipulating these culturable strains to combat M. velezangeli presents an exciting avenue for sustainable pest management.

While the study does not investigate the localization of these associated bacteria, whether in the gut or elsewhere, including potentially in dedicated symbiotic organs, it nevertheless offers a valuable descriptive account. This baseline knowledge will be useful for any subsequent functional or localization studies, which could further unravel the complex interactions between M. velezangeli and its microbial partners.

In conclusion, the work of Navarro-Escalante et al. is a notable effort to set the stage for future research into the biology of M. velezangeli and its associated microbiota. The findings from this study provide a good reference point for further investigations aimed at pest's biology and exploring innovative pest control strategies. It also represents a valuable contribution to understanding the basic biology of insect-bacteria interactions. 

Reference

Navarro-Escalante​ L., Benavides​ P. and Acevedo​, F.E. (2023) Diversity of bacterial symbionts associated with the tropical plant bug Monalonion velezangeli (Hemiptera: Miridae) revealed by high-throughput 16S-rRNA sequencing. Research Square​, ver. 7 peer-reviewed and recommended by PCI Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2022560/v7

 

Diversity of bacterial symbionts associated with the tropical plant bug *Monalonion velezangeli* (Hemiptera: Miridae) revealed by high-throughput 16S-rRNA sequencingLucio Navarro-Escalante, Pablo Benavides, Flor Edith Acevedo<p>Insects and microbes have developed complex symbiotic relationships that evolutionarily and ecologically play beneficial roles for both, the symbiont and the host. In most Hemiptera insects, bacterial symbionts offer mainly nutritional, defensi...Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology, Microbial symbiosisJean-Marie Volland2022-10-31 20:31:54 View
13 Oct 2023
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Fine-scale congruence in bacterial community structure from marine sediments sequenced by short-reads on Illumina and long-reads on Nanopore

ONT long-read sequencing and Illumina short-read sequencing of 16S rDNA amplicons give comparable results in terms of bacterial community structure in marine sediments

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

ONT long-read high-throughput sequencing is not routinely used for metabarcoding studies of microbial communities. Even though this technology is supposed to considerably improve phylogenetic coverage and taxonomic resolution, it initially suffered from relatively poor read accuracy.  Assessment of the performance of this new approach in comparison with routinely used 16S rDNA short-read sequencing is therefore needed to validate its use.

The study by Lemoinne et al. (2023) offers a comprehensive comparison of two 16S rDNA metabarcoding approaches on marine sediment samples. By comparing Illumina short-read sequencing with ONT long-read sequencing, the authors conclude that bacterial community structures inferred from both technologies were similar. They also found that differences observed between sampling sites and along the sea-land orientation were comparable between the two technologies. However, the choice of technology still has an impact on the obtained results, notably in terms of bacterial diversity retrieved, taxonomic resolution, and replicability between biological replicates.

Altogether, these results validate the use of ONT long-read sequencing for 16S metabarcoding approaches in marine sediments. Comparisons of such kinds targeting other remote environments are needed, as they might offer new opportunities for field scientists with no access to sequencing platforms to study the structure and composition of microbial communities.

Reference

Lemoinne, A., Dirberg, G., Georges, M., & Robinet, T. (2023). Fine-scale congruence in bacterial community structure from marine sediments sequenced by short-reads on Illumina and long-reads on Nanopore. biorXiv, version 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.06.06.541006

Fine-scale congruence in bacterial community structure from marine sediments sequenced by short-reads on Illumina and long-reads on NanoporeAlice Lemoinne, Guillaume Dirberg, Myriam Georges, Tony Robinet<p style="text-align: justify;">Following the development of high-throughput sequencers, environmental prokaryotic communities are usually described by metabarcoding with genetic markers on the 16S domain. However, short-read sequencing encounters...Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology, Molecular microbiologyAymé Spor2023-06-07 17:48:08 View
20 Sep 2023
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Transmission of synthetic seed bacterial communities to radish seedlings: impact on microbiota assembly and plant phenotype

Seed synthetic community matters and its impact on seedling is strain- and not species-dependant

Recommended by based on reviews by Cindy Morris, Sebastian Pfeilmeier and 1 anonymous reviewer

Engineering plant microbiota can improve plant health and growth sustainably. Emergent approaches include rational Synthetic Communities (SynCom) design or soil amendments and specific agricultural practices to shift resident microbiota and to understand its impact (Moreira et al. 2023). 

In this context, the impact of seed microbiota on the early stages of plant development is becoming an essential topic in the study of plant–microbiota interactions. Behind the well-studied seed-borne pathogens, the seed microbiota can host many other commensal and beneficial organisms that have been neglected in the past. 

The study of Simonin et al. (2023) applies single isolates and synthetic communities (SynCom)  on radish seeds to answer two key questions: what is the role of seed microbiota during the early stages of plant development? How can SynCom influence the seedling health and its microbiota? The study describes an elegant approach to cope with the variability of natural microbiota using SynCom following a gradient of complexity. 

Overall, the study highlighted a contrasted impact of the bacterial strains when applied in isolation or SynCom. The composition and complexity of the SynCom had also an impact on plant seedlings. Importantly, contrasting evolution from seeds to seedlings was observed for 3 strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens within the SynComs, underlining the importance of intra-species level diversity and precluding any generalization of results at species level.  

References 

Moreira, Z. P. M., Chen, M. Y., Ortuno, D. L. Y., & Haney, C. H. (2023). Engineering plant microbiomes by integrating eco-evolutionary principles into current strategies. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 71, 102316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbi.2022.102316

Simonin, M., Préveaux, A., Marais, C., Garin, T., Arnault, G., Sarniguet, A., & Barret, M. (2023). Transmission of synthetic seed bacterial communities to radish seedlings: impact on microbiota assembly and plant phenotype. bioRxiv, 2023-02. ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.14.527860

Transmission of synthetic seed bacterial communities to radish seedlings: impact on microbiota assembly and plant phenotypeMarie Simonin, Anne Preveaux, Coralie Marais, Tiffany Garin, Gontran Arnault, Alain Sarniguet, Matthieu Barret<p style="text-align: justify;">Seed-borne microorganisms can be pioneer taxa during germination and seedling emergence. Still, the identity and phenotypic effects of these taxa that constitute a primary inoculum of plant microbiota is mostly unkn...Microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions, Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology, MicrobiomesSebastien Massart2023-02-15 10:27:26 View
29 Aug 2023
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Comparative abundance and diversity of populations of the Pseudomonas syringae and Soft Rot Pectobacteriaceae species complexes throughout the Durance River catchment from its French Alps sources to its delta

Treating all pathogens alike: a call for whole-catchment monitoring of plant-pathogens

Recommended by based on reviews by António Machado, Tiffany Lowe-Power and 1 anonymous reviewer

Plant pathogens can cause devastating damage to crop (Strange and Scott 2005) greatly affecting a food resource in growing need on our planet. A significant proportion of global crops require irrigation, and with this, bare the risk of being affected by irrigation-borne pathogens (Lamichhane and Bartoli, 2015). Detection of plant pathogens in irrigation water can effectively be used to minimize this risk. River water makes up a major irrigation water source. Morris et al., (2023), propose monitoring whole river catchments to understand plant pathogen population dynamics and generate models to prevent outbreaks, similar to practices regarding water-borne human pathogens.

Monitoring 270 km of the river Durance, Morris et al., (2023) reveal that two groups of bacteria known to host pathogenic strains, Pseudomonas syringae and the Soft Rot Pectobacteriaceae are present in relatively high numbers across the entire catchment or significant parts of it, respectively, with their abundance mostly correlated to water temperature. Nevertheless, despite their presence no major outbreaks have been reported in recent years. The authors suggest that the current environmental conditions in the lower, agriculture-dominated part of the catchment may not generate the necessary environment for an outbreak. Alternatively, as also suggested, though some potentially pathogenic variants were detected in the study, they may not match the crops currently grown in the area (Morris et al., 2023).

The authors thus bring up the need for large scale monitoring and call for observations on potential land-use changes in the area that may alter the sensitive and seemingly stable conditions in such a way that outbreaks will be triggered. Change of land use, specifically from rural to agricultural use, has been repeatedly recognized to influence biodiversity (e.g., Ionescu et al., 2022). Furthermore, agricultural environments, with a dense network of irrigation channels, natural and man-made ponds, and larger reservoirs, will accelerate the spread of organisms through multiple biotic and abiotic vectors (Karnatak and Wollrab, 2020), and with this likely plant- (and other) pathogens. Overall, the work by Morris et al., (2023) highlights that studying the presence and distribution of plant pathogens in water used for irrigation across large areas, is bound to identify which potential pathogens are omnipresent, awaiting for the right condition for an outbreak; and which are rather spread from, isolated, local sources and thus can be effectively mitigated.

References

Strange, R. N., and Scott, P. R. (2005). Plant disease: a threat to global food security. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 43, 83–116. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.phyto.43.113004.133839

Lamichhane, J.R. and Bartoli, C. (2015), Plant pathogenic bacteria in open irrigation systems: what risk for crop health? Plant Pathol, 64: 757-766. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppa.12371

C.E. Morris, C. Lacroix, C. Chandeysson, C. Guilbaud, C. Monteil, S. Piry, Rochelle Newall E., S. Fiorini, F. Van Gijsegem, M.A. Barny, O. Berge (2023) Comparative abundance and diversity of populations of the Pseudomonas syringae and Soft Rot Pectobacteriaceae species complexes throughout the Durance River catchment from its French Alps sources to its delta. bioRxiv, 2022.09.06.506731, ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.06.506731 

Ionescu, D., Bizic, M., Karnatak, R., Musseau, C. L., Onandia, G., Kasada, M., Berger, S. A., et al. (2022). From Microbes to Mammals: Pond Biodiversity Homogenization across Different Land-Use Types in an Agricultural Landscape. Ecological Monographs 92(3): e1523. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecm.1523

Comparative abundance and diversity of populations of the *Pseudomonas syringae* and Soft Rot *Pectobacteriaceae* species complexes throughout the Durance River catchment from its French Alps sources to its deltaC.E. Morris, C. Lacroix, C. Chandeysson, C. Guilbaud, C. Monteil, S. Piry, E. Rochelle Newall, S. Fiorini, F. Van Gijsegem, M.A. Barny, O. Berge<p style="text-align: justify;">Rivers, creeks, streams are integrators of biological, chemical and physical processes occurring in a catchment linking land cover from the headwaters to the outlet. The dynamics of human and animal pathogens in cat...Microbial ecology and environmental microbiologyMina Bizic2022-12-22 12:04:32 View
29 Aug 2023
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Comparison of metabarcoding taxonomic markers to describe fungal communities in fermented foods

Towards a more accurate metabarcoding approach for studying fungal communities of fermented foods

Recommended by based on reviews by Johannes Schweichhart and 2 anonymous reviewers

Improved characterization of food microbial ecosystems, especially those fermented is key to the development of food sustainability. Short-read metabarcoding is one of the most popular ways to study microbial communities. However, this approach remains complex because of the locks and biases it may entail particularly when applied to fungal communities. 

Building and using four mock communities from fermented food (bread, wine, cheese, fermented meat), Rué et al., 2023 demonstrate that combined DADA2 denoising algorithm followed to the FROGS tools gives a more accurate description of fungal communities compared to several commonly used bioinformatic workflows, dealing with all amplicon lengths. Moreover, Rué et al., 2023 provide guidance on which barcode to use (ITS1, ITS2, D1/D2 and RPB2), depending on the fermented food studied.

Practices in metabarcoding of fungi have been recently reviewed by Tedersoo et al., 2022 and their synthesis comes to the same conclusion as Rué et al., 2023.  As the reference databases are far from being complete notably for food ecosystems, the development of specific sequences public databases will enable the scientific community to lift the veil on this whole area of microbial ecology. 

The study conducted by Rué et al. (2023) provides a particularly detailed approach from a technical point of view, which contributes to improving the general practices in the metabarcoding of fungi. The design and the use of mock communities to compare the performances of the different pipelines is a strong point of this study. Another key element is the creation and use of an in-house database of fungal barcode sequences which improved the species-level affiliations

However, the study of fungal communities by metabarcoding is still a promising avenue of research in agri-food sciences. Thus, short-read sequencing, combined with suitable pipelines and databases, should remain of interest to the microbial ecology community (Pauvert et al., 2019; Furneaux et al., 2021). 

References

Furneaux, B., Bahram, M., Rosling, A., Yorou, N. S., & Ryberg, M. (2021). Long‐and short‐read metabarcoding technologies reveal similar spatiotemporal structures in fungal communities. Molecular Ecology Resources, 21(6), 1833-1849. https://doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13387

Pauvert, C., Buée, M., Laval, V., Edel-Hermann, V., Fauchery, L., Gautier, A., ... & Vacher, C. (2019). Bioinformatics matters: The accuracy of plant and soil fungal community data is highly dependent on the metabarcoding pipeline. Fungal Ecology, 41, 23-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funeco.2019.03.005

Rué, O., Coton, M., Dugat-Bony, E., Howell, K., Irlinger, F., Legras, J. L., ... & Sicard, D. (2023). Comparison of metabarcoding taxonomic markers to describe fungal communities in fermented foods. BioRxiv,  2023-0113.523754, ver.3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.01.13.523754

Tedersoo, L., Bahram, M., Zinger, L., Nilsson, R. H., Kennedy, P. G., Yang, T., ... & Mikryukov, V. (2022). Best practices in metabarcoding of fungi: From experimental design to results. Molecular ecology, 31(10), 2769-2795. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16460

Comparison of metabarcoding taxonomic markers to describe fungal communities in fermented foodsOlivier Rué, Monika Coton, Eric Dugat-Bony, Kate Howell, Françoise Irlinger, Jean-Luc Legras, Valentin Loux, Elisa Michel, Jérôme Mounier, Cécile Neuvéglise, Delphine Sicard<p>Next generation sequencing offers several ways to study microbial communities. For agri-food sciences, identifying species in diverse food ecosystems is key for both food sustainability and food security. The aim of this study was to compare me...Bioinformatics dedicated to microbial studiesCaroline Strub2023-01-20 12:37:03 View
17 Aug 2023
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Within-species variation in the gut microbiome of medaka (Oryzias latipes) is driven by the interaction of light intensity and genetic background

Getting closer to the host-microbe evolutionary relationship

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by Laetitia Wilkins, Marco Basili and 1 anonymous reviewer

The issue of whether there is a clear and detectable relationship -either deterministic or stochastic- of fish gut microbiota with evolutionary processes is far from being resolved. Studies on fish microbiota are more perplexed as this animal group includes species both from wild and farmed populations (for food production, ornamental fish and animal models), with variable life cycles and ecophysiologies, and all these features expand the type of interactions to be studied. Based on this biological features variability, multiple methodological limitations, especially for the species with wild populations, are perhaps among of the central reasons for this knowledge gap. Therefore, experimental approaches, which can eliminate some of this variability, seem to be the best approach.

The preprint by Evangelista et al. (2023) entitled "Within-species variation in the gut microbiome of medaka (Oryzias latipes) is driven by the interaction of light intensity and genetic background" is an example of such a targeted study with a freshwater fish species. Due to the paper's finely detailed experimental design, the interdisciplinary skills of the participating co-authors and exhaustive data analysis, this paper manages to draw solid and reproducible results and conclusions. This renders it not only an insightful contribution towards the more general host-microbe interactions in an evolutionary framework, but also a perfect example on how current and future relevant research should be conducted. I feel confident that this paper will assist other scientits of the field to move forward with their current working hypotheses but also to generate novel ones.

Reference :

Evangelista C, Kamenova S, Diaz Pauli B, Sandkjenn J, Vollestad A, Edeline E, Trosvik P, de Muinck E (2023) Within-species variation in the gut microbiome of medaka (Oryzias latipes) is driven by the interaction of light intensity and genetic background. bioRxiv, 2023.02.17.528956, ver. 2 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.02.17.528956

Within-species variation in the gut microbiome of medaka (*Oryzias latipes*) is driven by the interaction of light intensity and genetic backgroundCharlotte Evangelista, Stefaniya Kamenova, Beatriz Diaz Pauli, Joakim Sandkjenn, Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad, Eric Edeline, Pål Trosvik, Eric Jacques de Muinck<p style="text-align: justify;">Unravelling evolution-by-environment interactions on the gut microbiome is particularly relevant considering the unprecedented level of human-driven disruption of the ecological and evolutionary trajectories of spec...MicrobiomesKonstantinos (Kostas) Kormas2023-03-30 16:53:31 View
11 Aug 2023
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Comparison of enrichment methods for efficient nitrogen fixation on a biocathode

Toward a low-energy bioelectrochemical fixation of N2 via mixed cultures electroactive biofilms

Recommended by ORCID_LOGO based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers

Nitrogen fixation and elimination are two key microbial processes that significantly impact the release (and removal) of reactive nitrogen into natural ecosystems. Unlike global change, caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, the release of reactive nitrogen into our biosphere only recently (in the last years) received the necessary public attention. Hence, novel techniques for (1) reactive nitrogen recovery, (2) energy-effective removal, and (3) sustainable nitrogen fixation are essential to prevent the nitrogen cycle from spinning out of control without also putting an additional burden on our precious natural resources or increasing the emission of greenhouse gasses.

In this research paper by Rous et al. (2023), the authors investigated the use of a biocathode in a bioelectrochemical system (BES) for sustainable fixation of N2 into NH3, using electricity as a sustainable energy source and CO2 as the only carbon source. A critical element in their study was the enrichment of N2-fixating bacteria, starting from soil samples, in an effort to achieve effective nitrogen fixation. A comparison between the enriched culture and a pure culture of diazotrophic hydrogenotrophic bacteria confirmed comparable results for N2 fixation, indicating that the enrichment process was a viable and successful approach. Although pure culture biotechnological processes have their merits, it is clear that the usage of an enriched microbial culture allows for a more simple, robust, and open microbial process, compared to pure culture systems.

This approach does enable a sustainable way of N2 (and by extension CO2) fixation, as it relies on electricity directly (or indirectly through H2) and CO2 only, but it does suffer from low coulombic efficiencies (<5%). This indicates that, even though the results are promising, there is room for optimization, especially concerning the production of (unwanted) side products, such as acetate and other microbial metabolites. This reflects a key challenge and potential disadvantage of mixed or enriched cultures compared to pure cultures.

It is in that framework that this study provides an interesting, highly relevant view on the potential of bioelectrochemical nitrogen fixation using enriched cultures, yet, it also implies the need to either find a purpose for the byproducts, such as acetate, and/or achieve a more effective enrichment strategy to achieve an increased coulombic efficiency towards sustainable nitrogen fixation.

Reference

Rous A., Santa-Catalina G., Desmond-Le Quéméner E., Eric Trably E. and Nicolas Bernet N. (2023). Comparison of enrichment methods for efficient nitrogen fixation on a biocathode. bioRxiv, 2023.03.02.530809, ver 5, peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.02.530809

Comparison of enrichment methods for efficient nitrogen fixation on a biocathodeAxel Rous, Gaëlle Santa-Catalina, Elie Desmond-Le Quéméner, Eric Trably, Nicolas Bernet<p>The production of nitrogen fertilizers in modern agriculture is mostly based on the Haber-Bosch process, representing nearly 2% of the total energy consumed in the world. Low-energy bioelectrochemical fixation of N2 to microbial biomass was pre...Biofilms, microbial mats, Microbial biotechnology, Microbial ecology and environmental microbiologyJo De VriezeAnonymous, Anonymous2023-03-07 08:27:42 View