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Title: Metabolic interdependencies between phylogenetically novel fermenters and respiratory organisms in an unconfined aquifer

Fermentation-based metabolism is an important ecosystem function often associated with environments rich in organic carbon, such as wetlands, sewage sludge, and the mammalian gut. The diversity of microorganisms and pathways involved in carbon and hydrogen cycling in sediments and aquifers and the impacts of these processes on other biogeochemical cycles remain poorly understood. Here we used metagenomics and proteomics to characterize microbial communities sampled from an aquifer adjacent to the Colorado River at Rifle, Colorado, USA, and document interlinked microbial roles in geochemical cycling. The organic carbon content in the aquifer was elevated via two acetate-based biostimulation treatments. Samples were collected at three time points, with the objective of extensive genome recovery to enable metabolic reconstruction of the community. Fermentative community members include genomes from a new phylum (ACD20), phylogenetically novel members of the Chloroflexi and Bacteroidetes, as well as candidate phyla genomes (OD1, BD1-5, SR1, WWE3, ACD58, TM6, PER, and OP11). These organisms have the capacity to produce hydrogen, acetate, formate, ethanol, butyrate, and lactate, activities supported by proteomic data. The diversity and expression of hydrogenases suggests the importance of hydrogen currency in the subsurface. Our proteogenomic data further indicate the consumption of fermentation intermediates by Proteobacteria can bemore » coupled to nitrate, sulfate, and iron reduction. Thus, fermentation carried out by previously unstudied members of sediment microbial communities may be an important driver of diverse subsurface biogeochemical cycles.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: The ISME Journal, 8(7):1452-1463
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
metabolic interdependencies; phylogenetically novel fermenters; respiratory organisms; unconfined aquifer