September 22, 2019  |  

Strain-level genetic diversity of Methylophaga nitratireducenticrescens confers plasticity to denitrification capacity in a methylotrophic marine denitrifying biofilm.

Authors: Geoffroy, Valérie and Payette, Geneviève and Mauffrey, Florian and Lestin, Livie and Constant, Philippe and Villemur, Richard

The biofilm of a methanol-fed, fluidized denitrification system treating a marine effluent is composed of multi-species microorganisms, among which Hyphomicrobium nitrativorans NL23 and Methylophaga nitratireducenticrescens JAM1 are the principal bacteria involved in the denitrifying activities. Strain NL23 can carry complete nitrate (NO[Formula: see text]) reduction to N2, whereas strain JAM1 can perform 3 out of the 4 reduction steps. A small proportion of other denitrifiers exists in the biofilm, suggesting the potential plasticity of the biofilm in adapting to environmental changes. Here, we report the acclimation of the denitrifying biofilm from continuous operating mode to batch operating mode, and the isolation and characterization from the acclimated biofilm of a new denitrifying bacterial strain, named GP59.The denitrifying biofilm was batch-cultured under anoxic conditions. The acclimated biofilm was plated on Methylophaga specific medium to isolate denitrifying Methylophaga isolates. Planktonic cultures of strains GP59 and JAM1 were performed, and the growth and the dynamics of NO[Formula: see text], nitrite (NO[Formula: see text]) and N2O were determined. The genomes of strains GP59 and JAM1 were sequenced and compared. The transcriptomes of strains GP59 and JAM1 were derived from anoxic cultures.During batch cultures of the biofilm, we observed the disappearance of H. nitrativorans NL23 without affecting the denitrification performance. From the acclimated biofilm, we isolated strain GP59 that can perform, like H. nitrativorans NL23, the complete denitrification pathway. The GP59 cell concentration in the acclimated biofilm was 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than M. nitratireducenticrescens JAM1 and H. nitrativorans NL23. Genome analyses revealed that strain GP59 belongs to the species M. nitratireducenticrescens. The GP59 genome shares more than 85% of its coding sequences with those of strain JAM1. Based on transcriptomic analyses of anoxic cultures, most of these common genes in strain GP59 were expressed at similar level than their counterparts in strain JAM1. In contrast to strain JAM1, strain GP59 cannot reduce NO[Formula: see text] under oxic culture conditions, and has a 24-h lag time before growth and NO[Formula: see text] reduction start to occur in anoxic cultures, suggesting that both strains regulate differently the expression of their denitrification genes. Strain GP59 has the ability to reduce NO[Formula: see text] as it carries a gene encoding a NirK-type NO[Formula: see text] reductase. Based on the CRISPR sequences, strain GP59 did not emerge from strain JAM1 during the biofilm batch cultures but rather was present in the original biofilm and was enriched during this process.These results reinforce the unique trait of the species M. nitratireducenticrescens among the Methylophaga genus as facultative anaerobic bacterium. These findings also showed the plasticity of denitrifying population of the biofilm in adapting to anoxic marine environments of the bioreactor.

Journal: PeerJ
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4679
Year: 2018

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