Matching Items (3)

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Preliminary Metabolic Reconstruction of Two Methane Producing Microbes: Methanoregula boonei 6A8 and Methanosphaerula palustris E1-9c

Description

Methane (CH4) is very important in the environment as it is a greenhouse gas and important for the degradation of organic matter. During the last 200 years the atmospheric concentration

Methane (CH4) is very important in the environment as it is a greenhouse gas and important for the degradation of organic matter. During the last 200 years the atmospheric concentration of CH4 has tripled. Methanogens are methane-producing microbes from the Archaea domain that complete the final step in breaking down organic matter to generate methane through a process called methanogenesis. They contribute to about 74% of the CH4 present on the Earth's atmosphere, producing 1 billion tons of methane annually. The purpose of this work is to generate a preliminary metabolic reconstruction model of two methanogens: Methanoregula boonei 6A8 and Methanosphaerula palustris E1-9c. M. boonei and M. palustris are part of the Methanomicrobiales order and perform hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis, which means that they reduce CO2 to CH4 by using H2 as their major electron donor. Metabolic models are frameworks for understanding a cell as a system and they provide the means to assess the changes in gene regulation in response in various environmental and physiological constraints. The Pathway-Tools software v16 was used to generate these draft models. The models were manually curated using literature searches, the KEGG database and homology methods with the Methanosarcina acetivorans strain, the closest methanogen strain with a nearly complete metabolic reconstruction. These preliminary models attempt to complete the pathways required for amino acid biosynthesis, methanogenesis, and major cofactors related to methanogenesis. The M. boonei reconstruction currently includes 99 pathways and has 82% of its reactions completed, while the M. palustris reconstruction includes 102 pathways and has 89% of its reactions completed.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Coupled Abiotic and Biotic Cycling of Nitrous Oxide

Description

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas and an oxidant respired by a

diverse range of anaerobic microbes, but its sources and sinks are poorly understood. The overarching goal of

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas and an oxidant respired by a

diverse range of anaerobic microbes, but its sources and sinks are poorly understood. The overarching goal of my dissertation is to explore abiotic N2O formation and microbial N2O consumption across reducing environments of the early and modern Earth. By combining experiments as well as diffusion and atmospheric modeling, I present evidence that N2O production can be catalyzed on iron mineral surfaces that may have been present in shallow waters of the Archean ocean. Using photochemical models, I showed that tropospheric N2O concentrations close to modern ones (ppb range) were possible before O2 accumulated. In peatlands of the Amazon basin (modern Earth), unexpected abiotic activity became apparent under anoxic conditions. However, care has to be taken to adequately disentangle abiotic from biotic reactions. I identified significant sterilant-induced changes in Fe2+ and dissolved organic matter pools (determined by fluorescence spectroscopy). Among all chemical and physical sterilants tested, γ - irradiation showed the least effect on reactant pools. Targeting geochemically diverse peatlands across Central and South America, I present evidence that coupled abiotic and biotic cycling of N2O could be a widespread phenomenon. Using isotopic tracers in the field, I showed that abiotic N2O fluxes rival biotic ones under in-situ conditions. Moreover, once N2O is produced, it is rapidly consumed by N2O-reducing microbes. Using amplicon sequencing and metagenomics, I demonstrated that this surprising N2O sink potential is associated with diverse bacteria, including the recently discovered clade II that is present in high proportions at Amazonian sites based on nosZ quantities. Finally, to evaluate the impact of nitrogen oxides on methane production in peatlands, I characterized soil nitrite (NO2–) and N2O abundances along soil profiles. I complemented field analyses with molecular work by deploying amplicon-based 16S rRNA and mcrA sequencing. The diversity and activity of soil methanogens was affected by the presence of NO2– and N2O, suggesting that methane emissions could be influenced by N2O cycling dynamics. Overall, my work proposes a key role for N2O in Earth systems across time and a central position in tropical microbial ecosystems.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Building microbial communities and managing fermentation in microbial electrolysis cells

Description

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) offer an alternative to methane production in anaerobic water treatment and the recapture of energy in waste waters. MXCs use anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) offer an alternative to methane production in anaerobic water treatment and the recapture of energy in waste waters. MXCs use anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to oxidize organic compounds and generate electrical current. In both anaerobic digestion and MXCs, an anaerobic food web connects the metabolisms of different microorganisms, using hydrolysis, fermentation and either methanogenesis or anode respiration to break down organic compounds, convert them to acetate and hydrogen, and then convert those intermediates into either methane or current. In this dissertation, understanding and managing the interactions among fermenters, methanogens, and ARB were critical to making developments in MXCs. Deep sequencing technologies were used in order to identify key community members, understand their role in the community, and identify selective pressures that drove the structure of microbial communities. This work goes from developing ARB communities by finding and using the best partners to managing ARB communities with undesirable partners. First, the foundation of MXCs, namely the ARB they rely on, was expanded by identifying novel ARB, the genus Geoalkalibacter, and demonstrating the presence of ARB in 7 out of 13 different environmental samples. Second, a new microbial community which converted butyrate to electricity at ~70% Coulombic efficiency was assembled and demonstrated that mixed communities can be used to assemble efficient ARB communities. Third, varying the concentrations of sugars and ethanol fed to methanogenic communities showed how increasing ED concentration drove decreases in methane production and increases in both fatty acids and the propionate producing genera Bacteroides and Clostridium. Finally, methanogenic batch cultures, fed glucose and sucrose, and exposed to 0.15 – 6 g N-NH4+ L-1 showed that increased NH4+ inhibited methane production, drove fatty acid and lactate production, and enriched Lactobacillales (up to 40% abundance) above 4 g N-NH4+ L-1. Further, 4 g N-NH4+ L-1 improved Coulombic efficiencies in MXCs fed with glucose and sucrose, and showed that MXC communities, especially the biofilm, are more resilient to high NH4+ than comparable methanogenic communities. These developments offer new opportunities for MXC applications, guidance for efficient operation of MXCs, and insights into fermentative microbial communities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015