From metagenomics to microbial isolate: discovering novel thermoalkaliphiles in Yellowstone National
- Monday, March 19, 2018 from 3:10pm to 4:00pm
- Plant Biosciences Building, 108 - view map
Hydrothermal systems, such as hot springs, likely harbor microbial taxa with atypical metabolic pathways, and as result are likely reservoirs for thermostable enzymes with utility in multiple biotechnology applications. Few studies have targeted high temperature and high pH (alkaline) hot springs. This study used culturing and metagenomic approaches to characterize the microbial communities in several thermal alkaline hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. Metagenomic results identified numerous understudied and candidate archaeal phyla, including members of the Asgard group. Along with candidate phyla, enzymes with potential utility in biofuel production were also detected, suggesting thermostable enzymes with high pH tolerances can be isolated from microbial taxa present within these systems. Enrichment efforts targeted thermoalkaliphiles with renewable energy and other ‘green’ applications, with a focus on high pH-adapted thermophiles with potential use in plant biomass to fuel conversion systems. Several enrichments dominated by the bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor were established, along with an additional cellulose-based enrichment which cultured a bacterium residing within the Atribacteria candidate phylum. Finally, along with cellulose-degraders, thermoalkaliphiles capable of degrading and assimilating a variety of plastic materials, were also targeted for isolation. Using YNP hot spring water as a basal media, a suite of plastic materials were tested and screened. Following extended incubations, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to visualize the plastic material for both microbial growth as well as degraded plastic surfaces.
- Christine Smith