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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

In situ enrichment of microbial communities on polarized electrodes deployed in alkaline hot springs

The discovery of the ability of microorganisms to exchange electrons with inert electrodes has triggered new areas in fundamental and applied research. However, the field is currently limited to several known electrochemically active microorganisms enriched and isolated in research laboratories. An alternative strategy is to enrich such microorganisms in their native environment by allowing them to exchange electrons with polarized solid electrodes. The use of this approach is currently limited because of a lack of available tools. We developed a low-cost, battery-operated potentiostat that is capable of controlling the potential of a working electrode and can be deployed and operated…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks influences pathogen susceptibility.

Ticks are of medical importance owing to their ability to transmit pathogens to humans and animals. The Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of a number of pathogens, including Anaplasma marginale, which is the most widespread tick-borne pathogen of livestock. Although ticks host pathogenic bacteria, they also harbor bacterial endosymbionts that have a role in tick physiology, survival, as well as pathogen acquisition and transmission. The goal of this study was to characterize the bacterial microbiome and examine the impact of microbiome disruption on pathogen susceptibility. The bacterial microbiome of two populations of D. andersoni with historically…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The influence of energy harvesting strategies on performance and microbial community for sediment microbial fuel cells

Sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) are being developed as potential energy sources where remote sensing and monitoring would be useful. Several energy harvesting techniques for SMFCs have emerged, but effects of these different strategies on startup, performance, and microbial community are not well understood. We investigated these effects by comparing a continuous energy harvesting (CEH) strategy with an intermittent energy harvesting (IEH) strategy. During startup, IEH systems immediately produced higher power and were cathode limited. CEH systems exhibited a gradual power increase and were anode-limited during startup. Both system types produced similar amounts of steady-state power, 1.5 mW ft-2 (16…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scale-up of sediment microbial fuel cells.

Sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) are used as renewable power sources to operate remote sensors. However, increasing the electrode surface area results in decreased power density, which demonstrates that SMFCs do not scale up with size. As an alternative to the physical scale-up of SMFCs, we proposed that it is possible to scale up power by using smaller-sized individually operated SMFCs connected to a power management system that electrically isolates the anodes and cathodes. To demonstrate our electronic scale-up approach, we operated one 0.36-m2 SMFC (called a single-equivalent SMFC) and four independent SMFCs of 0.09 m2 each (called scaled-up SMFCs)…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Localized electron transfer rates and microelectrode-based enrichment of microbial communities within a phototrophic microbial mat.

Phototrophic microbial mats frequently exhibit sharp, light-dependent redox gradients that regulate microbial respiration on specific electron acceptors as a function of depth. In this work, a benthic phototrophic microbial mat from Hot Lake, a hypersaline, epsomitic lake located near Oroville in north-central Washington, was used to develop a microscale electrochemical method to study local electron transfer processes within the mat. To characterize the physicochemical variables influencing electron transfer, we initially quantified redox potential, pH, and dissolved oxygen gradients by depth in the mat under photic and aphotic conditions. We further demonstrated that power output of a mat fuel cell was…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evaluation of long-term performance of sediment microbial fuel cells and the role of natural resources

Sediment microbial fuel cells (SMFCs) are expected to be used as a renewable power source for remote environmental monitoring; therefore, evaluation of their long-term power performance is critical for their usability. In this paper, we present novel data needed to understand the long-term performance of SMFCs. We used 3-D Microemulsion (3DMe)™ doped anodes, which slowly release lactate and its fermented products. During our tests, anode-limited SMFCs with and without 3DMe-doped anodes were operated for more than 18 months with a load simulating a sensor operation. We found that doping an anode with an electron donor reduced startup time and increased…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Towards long-read metagenomics: complete assembly of three novel genomes from bacteria dependent on a diazotrophic cyanobacterium in a freshwater lake co-culture.

Here we report three complete bacterial genome assemblies from a PacBio shotgun metagenome of a co-culture from Upper Klamath Lake, OR. Genome annotations and culture conditions indicate these bacteria are dependent on carbon and nitrogen fixation from the cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, whose genome was assembled to draft-quality. Due to their taxonomic novelty relative to previously sequenced bacteria, we have temporarily designated these bacteria as incertae sedis Hyphomonadaceae strain UKL13-1 (3,501,508 bp and 56.12% GC), incertae sedis Betaproteobacterium strain UKL13-2 (3,387,087 bp and 54.98% GC), and incertae sedis Bacteroidetes strain UKL13-3 (3,236,529 bp and 37.33% GC). Each genome consists of a single circular chromosome…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evolution of the U.S. biological select agent Rathayibacter toxicus.

Rathayibacter toxicus is a species of Gram-positive, corynetoxin-producing bacteria that causes annual ryegrass toxicity, a disease often fatal to grazing animals. A phylogenomic approach was employed to model the evolution of R. toxicus to explain the low genetic diversity observed among isolates collected during a 30-year period of sampling in three regions of Australia, gain insight into the taxonomy of Rathayibacter, and provide a framework for studying these bacteria. Analyses of a data set of more than 100 sequenced Rathayibacter genomes indicated that Rathayibacter forms nine species-level groups. R. toxicus is the most genetically distant, and evidence suggested that this species experienced…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Analysis of the Campylobacter jejuni genome by SMRT DNA Sequencing identifies restriction-modification motifs.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis. The goal of this study was to analyze the C. jejuni F38011 strain, recovered from an individual with severe enteritis, at a genomic and proteomic level to gain insight into microbial processes. The C. jejuni F38011 genome is comprised of 1,691,939 bp, with a mol.% (G+C) content of 30.5%. PacBio sequencing coupled with REBASE analysis was used to predict C. jejuni F38011 genomic sites and enzymes that may be involved in DNA restriction-modification. A total of five putative methylation motifs were identified as well as the C. jejuni enzymes that…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genomes of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ Haplotype A from New Zealand and the United States Suggest Significant Genome Plasticity in the Species.

‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ contains two solanaceous crop-infecting haplotypes, A and B. Two haplotype A draft genomes were assembled and compared with ZC1 (haplotype B), revealing inversion and relocation genomic rearrangements, numerous single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and differences in phage-related regions. Differences in prophage location and sequence were seen both within and between haplotype comparisons. OrthoMCL and BLAST analyses identified 46 putative coding sequences present in haplotype A that were not present in haplotype B. Thirty-eight of these loci were not found in sequences from other Liberibacter spp. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays designed to amplify sequences from 15 of these loci…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comparative Analysis of the Shared Sex-Determination Region (SDR) among Salmonid Fishes.

Salmonids present an excellent model for studying evolution of young sex-chromosomes. Within the genus, Oncorhynchus, at least six independent sex-chromosome pairs have evolved, many unique to individual species. This variation results from the movement of the sex-determining gene, sdY, throughout the salmonid genome. While sdY is known to define sexual differentiation in salmonids, the mechanism of its movement throughout the genome has remained elusive due to high frequencies of repetitive elements, rDNA sequences, and transposons surrounding the sex-determining regions (SDR). Despite these difficulties, bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library clones from both rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon containing the sdY region…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A novel type pathway-specific regulator and dynamic genome environments of solanapyrone biosynthesis gene cluster in the fungus Ascochyta rabiei.

Secondary metabolite genes are often clustered together and situated in particular genomic regions, like the subtelomere, that can facilitate niche adaptation in fungi. Solanapyrones are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi occupying different ecological niches. Full-genome sequencing of the ascomycete Ascochyta rabiei revealed a solanapyrone biosynthesis gene cluster embedded in an AT-rich region proximal to a telomere end and surrounded by Tc1/Mariner-type transposable elements. The highly AT-rich environment of the solanapyrone cluster is likely the product of repeat-induced point mutations. Several secondary metabolism-related genes were found in the flanking regions of the solanapyrone cluster. Although the solanapyrone cluster appears to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Compact genome of the Antarctic midge is likely an adaptation to an extreme environment.

The midge, Belgica antarctica, is the only insect endemic to Antarctica, and thus it offers a powerful model for probing responses to extreme temperatures, freeze tolerance, dehydration, osmotic stress, ultraviolet radiation and other forms of environmental stress. Here we present the first genome assembly of an extremophile, the first dipteran in the family Chironomidae, and the first Antarctic eukaryote to be sequenced. At 99 megabases, B. antarctica has the smallest insect genome sequenced thus far. Although it has a similar number of genes as other Diptera, the midge genome has very low repeat density and a reduction in intron length.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Complete genome of the switchgrass endophyte Enterobacter clocace P101.

The Enterobacter cloacae complex is genetically very diverse. The increasing number of complete genomic sequences of E. cloacae is helping to determine the exact relationship among members of the complex. E. cloacae P101 is an endophyte of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and is closely related to other E. cloacae strains isolated from plants. The P101 genome consists of a 5,369,929 bp chromosome. The chromosome has 5,164 protein-coding regions, 100 tRNA sequences, and 8 rRNA operons.

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