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Title: Integrative molecular and microanalytical studies of syntrophic partnerships linking C, S, and N cycles in anoxic environments

Syntrophy and other forms of symbiotic associations between microorganisms are central to carbon and nutrient cycling in the environment. However, the inherent interdependence of these interactions, dynamic behavior, and frequent existence at thermodynamic limits has hindered our ability to both recognize syntrophic partnerships in nature and effectively study their behavior in the laboratory. To characterize and understand the underlying factors influencing syntrophic associations within complex communities requires a suite of tools that extend beyond basic molecular identification and cultivation. This specifically includes methods that preserve the natural spatial relationships between metabolically interdependent microorganisms while allowing downstream geochemical and/or molecular analysis. With support from this award, we have developed and applied new combinations of molecular, microscopy, and stable isotope-based methodologies that enable the characterization of fundamental links between phylogenetically-identified microorganisms and their specific metabolic activities and interactions in the environment. Through the coupling of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with cell capture and targeted metagenomics (Magneto-FISH), and FISH + secondary ion mass spectrometry (i.e. FISH-SIMS or FISH-nanoSIMS), we have defined new microbial interactions and the ecophysiology of anaerobic microorganisms involved in environmental methane cycling.
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
03 NATURAL GAS; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES stable isotope probing, nanoSIMS, anaerobic oxidation of methane, fluorescence in situ hybridization, archaea