Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

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Bacteria Influence Carbon Cycling

Source:  Dan Hawkes

Predicted energy metabolism for RBG-2.

Sediment environments represent one of the major carbon reservoirs on the planet, and contain a wide variety of uncharacterized microbial lineages. Recent advances in sequencing technologies provide much greater depth of sequencing—thus making it possible to begin exploring the roles of previously obscure organisms within complex systems such as sediments.

A team of LBNL, ESD, and U.C. Berkeley scientists led by Jillian Banfield and Laura Hug recently used metagenomics to directly evaluate the metabolic potential and diversity of Chloroflexi bacteria in aquifer sediments—sampling genomic sequences from 86 Chloroflexi representing 15 distinct lineages, including members of eight classes previously characterized only by 16S rRNA sequences. Their findings show an expanded role for Chloroflexi in sediment carbon cycling—to include respiration of sugars, fermentation, CO2 fixation, and acetogenesis with ATP formation by substrate-level phosphorylation.

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Citation: Hug, L.A., C.J. Castelle, K.C. Wrighton, B.C. Thomas, I. Sharon, K.R. Frischkorn, K.H. Williams, S.G. Tringe, and J.F. Banfield (2013), Community genomic analyses constrain the distribution of metabolic traits across the Chloroflexi phylum and indicate roles in sediment carbon cycling. Microbiome, 1, 22; DOI: 10.1186/2049-2618-1-22.

Funding: BER, SFA, SBR, Rifle IFRC