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|Ph.D.||microbial ecology||Ghent University||2006 - 2011|
|MSc.||Cellular and Molecular Biology||Wageningen University||2002 - 2003|
|MSc.||Bioengineering||Montpellier University||1999 - 2003|
|Adjunct researcher||microbial ecology||Marine Biological Laboratory||2013 - Present|
|Assistant Professor||microbial ecology||The University of Western Brittany (UBO)||2013 - Present|
|Postdoctoral Researcher||microbial ecology||Marine Biological Laboratory||2011 - 2013|
Plants alter chemical and physical properties of soil, and thereby influence rhizosphere microbial community structure. The structure of microbial communities may in turn affect plant performance. Yet, outside of simple systems with pairwise interacting partners, the plant genetic pathways that influence microbial community structure remain largely unknown, as are the performance feedbacks of microbial communities selected by the host plant genotype. We investigated the role of the plant circadian clock in shaping rhizosphere community structure and function. We performed 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing to characterize rhizosphere bacterial communities of Arabidopsis thaliana between day and night time points, and tested for differences in community structure between wild-type (Ws) vs clock mutant (toc1-21, ztl-30) genotypes. We then characterized microbial community function, by growing wild-type plants in soils with an overstory history of Ws, toc1-21 or ztl-30 and measuring plant performance. We observed that rhizosphere community structure varied between day and night time points, and clock misfunction significantly altered rhizosphere communities. Finally, wild-type plants germinated earlier and were larger when inoculated with soils having an overstory history of wild-type in comparison with clock mutant genotypes. Our findings suggest the circadian clock of the plant host influences rhizosphere community structure and function.
strain 306is an alphaproteobacterium isolated from Mediterranean Sea sediments. It belongs to the genus, which was recently proposed and is still poorly characterized. In an effort to better understand the fundamental aspects of the microbiology of this genus, we present here the 4.82-Mb draft genome sequence ofstrain 306.
Members of the genusare physiologically versatile and harbor ecological adaptations enabling the colonization of contrasted environments. We present here the draft genome ofRHS90, isolated from Mediterranean Sea sediments. Numerous genes related to stress tolerance, DNA repair, or external signal-sensing systems were predicted, which could represent selective advantages of this marine bacterium.
We report the genome sequence ofsp. EXT12c isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent at the East Pacific Rise 9°N. Microbes in the genusare able to grow anaerobically at high temperature, around neutral pH, and some of them under high hydrostatic pressure.
We report the genome sequence of Thermococcus superprofundus strain CDGS(T), a new piezophilic and hyperthermophilic member of the order Thermococcales isolated from the world's deepest hydrothermal vents, at the Mid-Cayman Rise. The genome is consistent with a heterotrophic, anaerobic, and piezophilic lifestyle.
The complete genome sequence ofDesulfovibrio indicusJ2(T), a member of the familyDesulfovibrionaceae, consists of 3,966,573-bp in one contig and encodes 3,461 predicted genes, 5 noncoding RNAs, 3 rRNAs operons, and 52 tRNA-encoding genes. The genome is consistent with a heterotrophic, anaerobic lifestyle including the sulfate reduction pathway.
A novel strictly anaerobic, hyperthermophilic archaeon, designated strain CDGS, was isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent in the Cayman Trough at 4964m water depth. The novel isolate is obligate anaerobe and grows chemoorganoheterotrophically with stimulation of growth by sulphur containing compounds. Its growth is optimal at 75°C, pH 6.0 and under a pressure of 50MPa. It possesses the broadest hydrostatic pressure range for growth that has ever been described for a microorganism. Its genomic DNA G+C content is 51.11mol%. The novel isolate belongs to the genus Thermococcus. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that it is most closely related to Thermococcus barossii DSM17882based on its 16S rRNA gene sequence, and to 'Thermococcus onnurineus' NA1 based on its whole genome sequence. The average nucleotide identity scores with these strains are 77.66% for T. barossii and 84.84% for 'T. onnurineus', respectively. Based on the draft whole genome sequence and phenotypic characteristics, strain CDGSis suggested to be separated into a novel species within the genus Thermococcus, with proposed name Thermococcus piezophilus (type strain CDGS=ATCC TSD-33=UBOCC 3296).
Longitudinal studies that integrate samples with variable biomass are essential to understand microbial community dynamics across space or time. Shotgun metagenomics is widely used to investigate these communities at the functional level, but little is known about the effects of combining low and high biomass samples on downstream analysis. We investigated the interacting effects of DNA input and library amplification by polymerase chain reaction on comparative metagenomic analysis using dilutions of a single complex template from an Arabidopsis thaliana-associated microbial community. We modified the Illumina Nextera kit to generate high-quality large-insert (680 bp) paired-end libraries using a range of 50 pg to 50 ng of input DNA. Using assembly-based metagenomic analysis, we demonstrate that DNA input level has a significant impact on community structure due to overrepresentation of low-GC genomic regions following library amplification. In our system, these differences were largely superseded by variations between biological replicates, but our results advocate verifying the influence of library amplification on a case-by-case basis. Overall, this study provides recommendations for quality filtering and de-replication prior to analysis, as well as a practical framework to address the issue of low biomass or biomass heterogeneity in longitudinal metagenomic surveys.
Microbial communities have a key role in the physiology of the sponge host, and it is therefore essential to understand the stability and specificity of sponge-symbiont associations. Host-specific bacterial associations spanning large geographic distance are widely acknowledged in sponges. However, the full spectrum of specificity remains unclear. In particular, it is not known whether closely related sponges host similar or very different microbiota over wide bathymetric and geographic gradients, and whether specific associations extend to the rare members of the sponge microbiome. Using the ultra-deep Illumina sequencing technology, we conducted a comparison of sponge bacterial communities in seven closely related Hexadella species with a well-resolved host phylogeny, as well as of a distantly related sponge Mycale. These samples spanned unprecedentedly large bathymetric (15-960 m) gradients and varying European locations. In addition, this study included a bacterial community analysis of the local background seawater for both Mycale and the widespread deep-sea taxa Hexadella cf. dedritifera. We observed a striking diversity of microbes associated with the sponges, spanning 47 bacterial phyla. The data did not reveal any Hexadella microbiota co-speciation pattern, but confirmed sponge-specific and species-specific host-bacteria associations, even within extremely low abundant taxa. Oligotyping analysis also revealed differential enrichment preferences of closely related Nitrospira members in closely related sponges species. Overall, these results demonstrate highly diverse, remarkably specific and stable sponge-bacteria associations that extend to members of the rare biosphere at a very fine phylogenetic scale, over significant geographic and bathymetric gradients.
UNLABELLED: Bacteria living on the aerial parts of plants (the phyllosphere) are globally abundant and ecologically significant communities and can have significant effects on their plant hosts. Despite their importance, little is known about the ecological processes that drive phyllosphere dynamics. Here, we describe the development of phyllosphere bacterial communities over time on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in a controlled greenhouse environment. We used a large number of replicate plants to identify repeatable dynamics in phyllosphere community assembly and reconstructed assembly history by measuring the composition of the airborne community immigrating to plant leaves. We used more than 260,000 sequences from the v5v6 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize bacterial community structure on 32 plant and 21 air samples over 73 days. We observed strong, reproducible successional dynamics: phyllosphere communities initially mirrored airborne communities and subsequently converged to a distinct community composition. While the presence or absence of particular taxa in the phyllosphere was conserved across replicates, suggesting strong selection for community composition, the relative abundance of these taxa was highly variable and related to the spatial association of individual plants. Our results suggest that stochastic events in early colonization, coupled with dispersal limitation, generated alternate trajectories of bacterial community assembly within the context of deterministic selection for community membership.
IMPORTANCE: Commensal bacteria associated with plants help protect their hosts against infection and promote growth. Bacteria associated with plant leaves (the "phyllosphere") are highly abundant and diverse communities, but we have very limited information about their ecology. Here, we describe the formation of phyllosphere communities on the plant model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. We grew a large number of plants in a greenhouse and measured bacterial diversity in the phyllosphere throughout the Arabidopsis life cycle. We also measured the diversity of airborne microbes landing on leaves. Our findings show that plants develop distinctive phyllosphere bacterial communities drawn from low-abundance air populations, suggesting the plant environment is favorable for particular organisms and not others. However, we also found that the relative abundances of bacteria in the phyllosphere are determined primarily by the physical proximity of individual plants. This suggests that a mixture of selective and random forces shapes phyllosphere communities.
Numerous studies on marine prokaryotic communities have postulated that a process of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled with sulfate reduction (SR) is the main methane sink in the world's oceans. AOM has also been reported in the deep biosphere. But the responses of the primary microbial players in eliciting changes in geochemical environments, specifically in methane and sulfate supplies, have yet to be fully elucidated. Marine mud volcanoes (MVs) expel a complex fluid mixture of which methane is the primary component, forming an environment in which AOM is a common phenomenon. In this context, we attempted to identify how the prokaryotic community would respond to changes in methane and sulfate intensities, which often occur in MV environments in the form of eruptions, diffusions or seepage. We applied an integrated approach, including (i) biochemical surveys of pore water originated from MV, (ii) in vitro incubation of mud breccia, and (iii) prokaryotic community structure analysis. Two distinct AOM regions were clearly detected. One is related to the sulfate methane transition zone (SMTZ) at depth of 30-55 cm below the sea floor (bsf); the second is at 165-205 cm bsf with ten times higher rates of AOM and SR. This finding contrasts with the sulfide concentrations in pore waters and supports the suggestion that potential AOM activity below the SMTZ might be an important methane sink that is largely ignored or underestimated in oceanic methane budget calculations. Moreover, the incubation conditions below the SMTZ favor the growth of methanotrophic archaeal group ANME-2 compared to ANME-1, and promote the rapid growth and high diversity of bacterial communities. These incubation conditions also promote the increase of richness in bacterial communities. Our results provide direct evidence of the mechanisms by which deep AOM processes can affect carbon cycling in the deep biosphere and global methane biochemistry.
The combination of a Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem with ad hoc molecular techniques (i.e. pyrosequencing, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and quantitative PCR) allowed an evaluation of the extent to which two plant polysaccharide supplements could modify a complex gut microbial community. The presence of Aloe vera gel powder and algae extract in product B as compared to the standard blend (product A) improved its fermentation along the entire simulated colon. The potential extended effect of product B in the simulated distal colon, as compared to product A, was confirmed by: (i) the separate clustering of the samples before and after the treatment in the phylogenetic-based dendrogram and OTU-based PCoA plot only for product B; (ii) a higher richness estimator (+33 vs. -36 % of product A); and (iii) a higher dynamic parameter (21 vs. 13 %). These data show that the combination of well designed in vitro simulators with barcoded pyrosequencing is a powerful tool for characterizing changes occurring in the gut microbiota following a treatment. However, for the quantification of low-abundance species-of interest because of their relationship to potential positive health effects (i.e. bifidobacteria or lactobacilli)-conventional molecular ecological approaches, such as PCR-DGGE and qPCR, still remain a very useful complementary tool.
Bacteria comprise the most diverse domain of life on Earth, where they occupy nearly every possible ecological niche and play key roles in biological and chemical processes. Studying the composition and ecology of bacterial ecosystems and understanding their function is of prime importance. High-throughput sequencing technologies enable nearly comprehensive descriptions of bacterial diversity through 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicons. Analyses of these communities generally rely upon taxonomic assignments through reference databases, or clustering approaches usingsequence similarity thresholds to identify operational taxonomic units. However, these methods often fail to resolve ecologically meaningful differences between closely related organisms in complex microbial datasets.In this paper we describe oligotyping, a novel supervised computational method that allows researchers to investigate the diversity of closely related but distinct bacterial organisms in final operational taxonomic units identified in environmental datasets through 16S ribosomal RNA gene data by the canonical approaches.Our analysis of two datasets from two distinct environments demonstrates the capacity of oligotyping at discriminating distinct microbial populations of ecological importance.Oligotyping can resolve the distribution of closely related organisms across environments and unveil previously overlooked ecological patterns for microbial communities. The URL http://oligotyping.org offers an open-source software pipeline for oligotyping.
EpiCor, derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been shown to have immunomodulating properties in human clinical trials and in vitro. However, the underlying mechanisms behind its immune protection via the gut remain largely unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to use an integrated in vitro approach to evaluate the metabolism of EpiCor by the intestinal microflora, its modulating effect on the gut microbiota, and its anti-inflammatory activity on human-derived cell lines. Using the SHIME model, in combination with a mucus adhesion assay, has shown that low doses of EpiCor have a prebiotic-like modulatory effect on the luminal- and mucosa-associated microbiota. These include gradual changes in general community structure, reduction of potential pathogens, quantitative increase in lactobacilli, and qualitative modulation of bifidobacteria. Moreover, by combination of the SHIME with Caco-2 cells and Caco-2/THP1 cocultures, a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines was observed at the end of the treatment period.
Life in hypersaline environments is typically limited by bioenergetic constraints. Microbial activity at the thermodynamic edge, such as the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) coupled to sulphate reduction (SR), is thus unlikely to thrive in these environments. In this study, carbon and sulphur cycling was investigated in the extremely hypersaline cold seep sediments of Mercator mud volcano. AOM activity was partially inhibited but still present at salinity levels of 292 g L(-1) (c. eightfold sea water concentration) with rates of 2.3 nmol cm(-3) day(-1) and was even detectable under saturated conditions. Methane and evaporite-derived sulphate comigrated in the ascending geofluids, which, in combination with a partial activity inhibition, resulted in AOM activity being spread over unusually wide depth intervals. Up to 79% of total cells in the AOM zone were identified by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) as anaerobic methanotrophs of the ANME-1. Most ANME-1 cells formed monospecific chains without any attached partner. At all sites, AOM activity co-occurred with SR activity and sometimes significantly exceeded it. Possible causes of these unexpected results are discussed. This study demonstrates that in spite of a very low energy yield of AOM, microorganisms carrying this reaction can thrive in salinity up to halite saturation.
BACKGROUND: Anaerobic oxidation of methane coupled to sulphate reduction (SR-AOM) prevents more than 90% of the oceanic methane emission to the atmosphere. In a previous study, we demonstrated that the high methane pressure (1, 4.5, and 8 MPa) stimulated in vitro SR-AOM activity. However, the information on the effect of high-pressure on the microbial community structure and architecture was still lacking.
RESULTS: In this study we analysed the long-term enrichment (286 days) of this microbial community, which was mediating SR-AOM in a continuous high-pressure bioreactor. 99.7% of the total biovolume represented cells in the form of small aggregates (diameter less then 15 μm). An increase of the total biovolume was observed (2.5 times). After 286 days, the ANME-2 (anaerobic methanotrophic archaea subgroup 2) and SRB (sulphate reducing bacteria) increased with a factor 12.5 and 8.4, respectively.
CONCLUSION: This paper reports a net biomass growth of communities involved in SR-AOM, incubated at high-pressure.
The introduction of nitrite and nitrate to the relatively reduced environment of the early Earth provided impetus for a tremendous diversification of microbial pathways. However, little is known about the first organisms to produce these valuable resources. In this review, the latest microbial discoveries are integrated in the evolution of the nitrogen cycle according to the great 'NO-ON' time debate, as we call it. This debate hypothesizes the first oxidation of nitrogen as abiotic and anoxic ('NO') versus biological and aerobic ('ON'). Confronting ancient biogeochemical niches with extant prokaryotic phylogenetics, physiology and morphology, pointed out that the well-described ammonia and nitrite oxidizing Proteobacteria likely did not play a pioneering role in microbial nitrogen oxidation. Instead, we hypothesize ancestral and primordial roles of methanotrophic NC10 bacteria and ammonia oxidizing archaea, respectively, for early nitrite production, and of anammox performing Planctomycetes followed by Nitrospira for early nitrate production. Additional genomic and structural information on the prokaryotic protagonists but also on their phages, together with the continued search for novel key players and processes, should further elucidate nitrogen cycle evolution. Through the ramifications between the biogeochemical cycles, this will improve our understanding on the evolution of terrestrial and perhaps extraterrestrial life.
The use of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) was shown to be successful in increasing the resistance of brine shrimp against pathogenic infections. In this study, we isolated for the first time PHB-degrading bacteria from a gastrointestinal environment. Pure strains of PHB-degrading bacteria were isolated from Siberian sturgeon, European sea bass and giant river prawn. The capability of selected isolates to degrade PHB was confirmed in at least two of three setups: (1) growth in minimal medium containing PHB as the sole carbon (C) source, (2) production of clearing zones on minimal agar containing PHB as the sole C source and (3) degradation of PHB (as determined by HPLC analysis) in 10% Luria-Bertani medium containing PHB. Challenge tests showed that the PHB-degrading activity of the selected isolates increased the survival of brine shrimp larvae challenged to a pathogenic Vibrio campbellii strain by a factor 2-3. Finally, one of the PHB-degrading isolates from sturgeon showed a double biocontrol effect because it was also able to inactivate acylhomoserine lactones, a type of quorum-sensing molecule that regulates the virulence of different pathogenic bacteria. Thus, the combined supplementation of a PHB-degrading bacterium and PHB as a synbioticum provides perspectives for improving the gastrointestinal health of aquatic animals.
From the simultaneous accumulation of hydrogenation intermediates and the disappearance of Isotricha prostoma after algae supplementation, we suggested a role of this ciliate and/or its associated bacteria in rumen biohydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids. The experiments described here evaluated the role of I. prostoma and/or its associated endogenous and exogenous bacteria in rumen biohydrogenation of C18:2n-6 and its main intermediates CLA c9t11 and C18:1t11. Fractions of I. prostoma and associated bacteria, obtained by sedimentation of rumen fluid sampled from a monofaunated sheep, were used untreated, treated with antibiotics or sonicated to discriminate between the activity of I. prostoma and its associated bacteria, the protozoan or the bacteria, respectively. Incubations were performed in triplicate during 6 h with unesterified C18:2n-6, CLA c9t11 or C18:1t11 (400 μg/ml) and 0.1 g glucose/cellobiose (1/1, w/w). I. prostoma did not hydrogenate C18:2n-6 or its intermediates whereas bacteria associated with I. prostoma converted a limited amount of C18:2n-6 and CLA c9t11 to trans monoenes. C18:1t11 was not hydrogenated by either I. prostoma or its associated bacteria but was isomerized to C18:1c9. A phylogenetic analysis of clones originating from Butyrivibrio-specific PCR product was performed. This indicated that 71% of the clones from the endogenous and exogenous community clustered in close relationship with Lachnospira pectinoschiza. Additionally, the biohydrogenation activity of solid-associated bacteria (SAB) and liquid-associated bacteria (LAB) was examined and compared with the activity of the non-fractioned I. prostoma monofaunated rumen fluid (LAB + SAB). Both SAB and LAB were involved in rumen biohydrogenation of C18:2n-6. SAB fractions performed the full hydrogenation reaction to C18:0 while C18:1 fatty acids, predominantly C18:1t10 and C18:1t11, accumulated in the LAB fractions. SAB and LAB sequence analyses were mainly related to the genera Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio with 12% of the SAB clones closely related to the C18:0 producing B. proteoclasticus branch. In conclusion, this work suggests that I. prostoma and its associated bacteria play no role in C18:2n-6 biohydrogenation, while LAB convert C18:2n-6 to a wide range of C18:1 fatty acids and SAB produce C18:0, the end product of rumen lipid metabolism.
Optimization of the fatty acid composition of ruminant milk and meat is desirable. Dietary supplementation of algae was previously shown to inhibit rumen biohydrogenation, resulting in an altered milk fatty acid profile. Bacteria involved in biohydrogenation belong to the Butyrivibrio group. This study was aimed at relating accumulation of biohydrogenation intermediates with shifts in Butyrivibrio spp. in the rumen of dairy cows. Therefore, an experiment was performed with three rumen-fistulated dairy cows receiving a concentrate containing algae (9.35 g/kg total dry matter [DM] intake) for 20 days. Supplementation of the diet with algae inhibited biohydrogenation of C(18:2) omega 6 (n-6) and C(18:3) n-3, resulting in increased concentrations of biohydrogenation intermediates, whereas C(18:0) decreased. Addition of algae increased ruminal C(18:1) trans fatty acid concentrations, mainly due to 6- and 20-fold increases in C(18:1) trans 11 (t11) and C(18:1) t10. The number of ciliates (5.37 log copies/g rumen digesta) and the composition of the ciliate community were unaffected by dietary algae. In contrast, supplementation of the diet with algae changed the composition of the bacterial community. Primers for the Butyrivibrio group, including the genera Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio, were specifically designed. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis showed community changes upon addition of algae without affecting the total amount of Butyrivibrio bacteria (7.06 log copies/g rumen DM). Clone libraries showed that algae affected noncultivated species, which cluster taxonomically between the genera Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio and might play a role in biohydrogenation. In addition, 20% of the clones from a randomly selected rumen sample were related to the C(18:0)-producing branch, although the associated C(18:0) concentration decreased through supplementation of the diet with algae.
Thus far, microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have been used to convert carbon-based substrates to electricity. However, sulfur compounds are ubiquitously present in organic waste and wastewater. In this study, a MFC with a hexacyanoferrate cathodic electrolyte was used to convert dissolved sulfide to elemental sulfur. Two types of MFCs were used, a square type closed to the air and a tubular type in which the cathode compartment was open to the air. The square-type MFCs demonstrated a potential-dependent conversion of sulfide to sulfur. In the tubular system, up to 514 mg sulfide L(-1) net anodic compartment (NAC) day(-1) (241 mg L(-1) day(-1) total anodic compartment, TAC) was removed. The sulfide oxidation in the anodic compartment resulted in electricity generation with power outputs up to 101 mW L(-1) NAC (47 W m(-3) TAC). Microbial fuel cells were coupled to an anaerobic upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor, providing total removals of up to 98% and 46% of the sulfide and acetate, respectively. The MFCs were capable of simultaneously removing sulfate via sulfide. This demonstrates that digester effluents can be polished by a MFC for both residual carbon and sulfur compounds. The recovery of electrons from sulfides implies a recovery of energy otherwise lost in the methane digester.