( 2001 )
Diversity and characterization of sulfate-reducing bacteria in groundwater at a uranium mill tailings site.
PMID : 11425735 : DOI : 10.1128/AEM.67.7.3149-3160.2001 PMC : PMC92994
Microbially mediated reduction and immobilization of U(VI) to U(IV) plays a role in both natural attenuation and accelerated bioremediation of uranium-contaminated sites. To realize bioremediation potential and accurately predict natural attenuation, it is important to first understand the microbial diversity of such sites. In this paper, the distribution of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in contaminated groundwater associated with a uranium mill tailings disposal site at Shiprock, N.Mex., was investigated. Two culture-independent analyses were employed: sequencing of clone libraries of PCR-amplified dissimilatory sulfite reductase (DSR) gene fragments and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomarker analysis. A remarkable diversity among the DSR sequences was revealed, including sequences from delta-Proteobacteria, gram-positive organisms, and the Nitrospira division. PLFA analysis detected at least 52 different mid-chain-branched saturate PLFA and included a high proportion of 10me16:0. Desulfotomaculum and Desulfotomaculum-like sequences were the most dominant DSR genes detected. Those belonging to SRB within delta-Proteobacteria were mainly recovered from low-uranium (< or =302 ppb) samples. One Desulfotomaculum-like sequence cluster overwhelmingly dominated high-U (>1,500 ppb) sites. Logistic regression showed a significant influence of uranium concentration over the dominance of this cluster of sequences (P = 0.0001). This strong association indicates that Desulfotomaculum has remarkable tolerance and adaptation to high levels of uranium and suggests the organism's possible involvement in natural attenuation of uranium. The in situ activity level of Desulfotomaculum in uranium-contaminated environments and its comparison to the activities of other SRB and other functional groups should be an important area for future research.
( 2004 )
Development and testing of a DNA macroarray to assess nitrogenase (nifH) gene diversity.
PMID : 15006766 : DOI : 10.1128/aem.70.3.1455-1465.2004 PMC : PMC368376
A DNA macroarray was developed and evaluated for its potential to distinguish variants of the dinitrogenase reductase (nifH) gene. Diverse nifH gene fragments amplified from a clone library were spotted onto nylon membranes. Amplified, biotinylated nifH fragments from individual clones or a natural picoplankton community were hybridized to the array and detected by chemiluminescence. A hybridization test with six individual targets mixed in equal proportions resulted in comparable relative signal intensities for the corresponding probes (standard deviation, 14%). When the targets were mixed in unequal concentrations, there was a predictable, but nonlinear, relationship between target concentration and relative signal intensity. Results implied a detection limit of roughly 13 pg of target ml(-1), a half-saturation of signal at 0.26 ng ml(-1), and a dynamic range of about 2 orders of magnitude. The threshold for cross-hybridization varied between 78 and 88% sequence identity. Hybridization patterns were reproducible with significant correlations between signal intensities of duplicate probes (r = 0.98, P < 0.0001, n = 88). A mixed nifH target amplified from a natural Chesapeake Bay water sample hybridized strongly to 6 of 88 total probes and weakly to 17 additional probes. The natural community results were well simulated (r = 0.941, P < 0.0001, n = 88) by hybridizing a defined mixture of six individual targets corresponding to the strongly hybridizing probes. Our results indicate that macroarray hybridization can be a highly reproducible, semiquantitative method for assessing the diversity of functional genes represented in mixed pools of PCR products amplified from the environment.