Strous Marc

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  • Preprint
    Archaeal nitrification in the ocean
    ( 2006-01-30) Wuchter, Cornelia ; Abbas, Ben ; Coolen, Marco J. L. ; Herfort, Lydie ; van Bleijswijk, Judith ; Timmers, Peer ; Strous, Marc ; Teira, Eva ; Herndl, Gerhard J. ; Middelburg, Jack J. ; Schouten, Stefan ; Sinninghe Damste, Jaap S.
    Marine Crenarchaeota are the most abundant single group of prokaryotes in the ocean but their physiology and role in marine biogeochemical cycles are unknown. Recently, a member of this clade was isolated from a sea aquarium and shown to be capable of nitrification, tentatively suggesting that they may play a role in the oceanic nitrogen cycle. We enriched a crenarchaeote from North Sea water and show that it oxidizes ammonium to nitrite. A time series study in the North Sea revealed that the abundance of the gene encoding for the archaeal ammonia monooxygenase alfa subunit (amoA) is correlated with the decline in ammonium concentrations and with the abundance of Crenarcheota. Remarkably, the archaeal amoA abundance was 1-2 orders of magnitude higher than those of bacterial nitrifiers which are commonly thought to mediate the oxidation of ammonium to nitrite in marine environments. Analysis of Atlantic waters of the upper 1000 m, where most of the ammonium regeneration and oxidation takes place, showed that crenarchaeotal amoA copy numbers are also one to three orders of magnitude higher than those of bacterial amoA. Our data thus suggest a major role for Archaea in oceanic nitrification.
  • Article
    Methane oxidation and methylotroph population dynamics in groundwater mesocosms
    (Wiley, 2020-02-03) Kuloyo, Olukayode ; Ruff, S. Emil ; Cahill, Aaron ; Connors, Liam ; Zorz, Jackie K. ; Hrabe de Angelis, Isabella ; Nightingale, Michael ; Mayer, Bernhard ; Strous, Marc
    Extraction of natural gas from unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs by hydraulic fracturing raises concerns about methane migration into groundwater. Microbial methane oxidation can be a significant methane sink. Here, we inoculated replicated, sand‐packed, continuous mesocosms with groundwater from a field methane release experiment. The mesocosms experienced thirty‐five weeks of dynamic methane, oxygen and nitrate concentrations. We determined concentrations and stable isotope signatures of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrate and monitored microbial community composition of suspended and attached biomass. Methane oxidation was strictly dependent on oxygen availability and led to enrichment of 13C in residual methane. Nitrate did not enhance methane oxidation under oxygen limitation. Methylotrophs persisted for weeks in the absence of methane, making them a powerful marker for active as well as past methane leaks. Thirty‐nine distinct populations of methylotrophic bacteria were observed. Methylotrophs mainly occurred attached to sediment particles. Abundances of methanotrophs and other methylotrophs were roughly similar across all samples, pointing at transfer of metabolites from the former to the latter. Two populations of Gracilibacteria (Candidate Phyla Radiation) displayed successive blooms, potentially triggered by a period of methane famine. This study will guide interpretation of future field studies and provides increased understanding of methylotroph ecophysiology.
  • Article
    Degradation of biological macromolecules supports uncultured microbial populations in Guaymas Basin hydrothermal sediments
    (Springer Nature, 2021-06-10) Pérez Castro, Sherlynette ; Borton, Mikayla A. ; Regan, Kathleen M. ; Hrabe de Angelis, Isabella ; Wrighton, Kelly C. ; Teske, Andreas P. ; Strous, Marc ; Ruff, S. Emil
    Hydrothermal sediments contain large numbers of uncultured heterotrophic microbial lineages. Here, we amended Guaymas Basin sediments with proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids or lipids under different redox conditions and cultivated heterotrophic thermophiles with the genomic potential for macromolecule degradation. We reconstructed 20 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of uncultured lineages affiliating with known archaeal and bacterial phyla, including endospore-forming Bacilli and candidate phylum Marinisomatota. One Marinisomatota MAG had 35 different glycoside hydrolases often in multiple copies, seven extracellular CAZymes, six polysaccharide lyases, and multiple sugar transporters. This population has the potential to degrade a broad spectrum of polysaccharides including chitin, cellulose, pectin, alginate, chondroitin, and carrageenan. We also describe thermophiles affiliating with the genera Thermosyntropha, Thermovirga, and Kosmotoga with the capability to make a living on nucleic acids, lipids, or multiple macromolecule classes, respectively. Several populations seemed to lack extracellular enzyme machinery and thus likely scavenged oligo- or monomers (e.g., MAGs affiliating with Archaeoglobus) or metabolic products like hydrogen (e.g., MAGs affiliating with Thermodesulfobacterium or Desulforudaceae). The growth of methanogens or the production of methane was not observed in any condition, indicating that the tested macromolecules are not degraded into substrates for methanogenesis in hydrothermal sediments. We provide new insights into the niches, and genomes of microorganisms that actively degrade abundant necromass macromolecules under oxic, sulfate-reducing, and fermentative thermophilic conditions. These findings improve our understanding of the carbon flow across trophic levels and indicate how primary produced biomass sustains complex and productive ecosystems.