Degradation Network Reconstruction in Uric Acid and Ammonium Amendments in Oil-Degrading Marine Microcosms Guided by Metagenomic Data

Rafael Bargiela, Christoph Gertler, Mirko Magagnini, Francesca Mapelli, Jianwei Chen, Daniele Daffonchio, Peter N. Golyshin, Manuel Ferrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Biostimulation with different nitrogen sources is often regarded as a strategy of choice in combating oil spills in marine environments. Such environments are typically depleted in nitrogen, therefore limiting the balanced microbial utilization of carbon-rich petroleum constituents. It is fundamental, yet only scarcely accounted for, to analyze the catabolic consequences of application of biostimulants. Here, we examined such alterations in enrichment microcosms using sediments from chronically crude oil-contaminated marine sediment at Ancona harbor (Italy) amended with natural fertilizer, uric acid (UA), or ammonium (AMM). We applied the web-based AromaDeg resource using as query Illumina HiSeq meta-sequences (UA: 27,893 open reading frames; AMM: 32,180) to identify potential catabolic differences. A total of 45 (for UA) and 65 (AMM) gene sequences encoding key catabolic enzymes matched AromaDeg, and their participation in aromatic degradation reactions could be unambiguously suggested. Genomic signatures for the degradation of aromatics such as 2-chlorobenzoate, indole-3-acetate, biphenyl, gentisate, quinoline and phenanthrene were common for both microcosms. However, those for the degradation of orcinol, ibuprofen, phenylpropionate, homoprotocatechuate and benzene (in UA) and 4-aminobenzene-sulfonate, p-cumate, dibenzofuran and phthalate (in AMM), were selectively enriched. Experimental validation was conducted and good agreement with predictions was observed. This suggests certain discrepancies in action of these biostimulants on the genomic content of the initial microbial community for the catabolism of petroleum constituents or aromatics pollutants. In both cases, the emerging microbial communities were phylogenetically highly similar and were composed by very same proteobacterial families. However, examination of taxonomic assignments further revealed different catabolic pathway organization at the organismal level, which should be considered for designing oil spill mitigation strategies in the sea.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume6
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 24 2015

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