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Applied and environmental microbiology

Verrucomicrobia are candidates for polysaccharide-degrading bacterioplankton in an arctic fjord of Svalbard.


PMID 24727271

Abstract

In Arctic marine bacterial communities, members of the phylum Verrucomicrobia are consistently detected, although not typically abundant, in 16S rRNA gene clone libraries and pyrotag surveys of the marine water column and in sediments. In an Arctic fjord (Smeerenburgfjord) of Svalbard, members of the Verrucomicrobia, together with Flavobacteria and smaller proportions of Alpha- and Gammaproteobacteria, constituted the most frequently detected bacterioplankton community members in 16S rRNA gene-based clone library analyses of the water column. Parallel measurements in the water column of the activities of six endo-acting polysaccharide hydrolases showed that chondroitin sulfate, laminarin, and xylan hydrolysis accounted for most of the activity. Several Verrucomicrobia water column phylotypes were affiliated with previously sequenced, glycoside hydrolase-rich genomes of individual Verrucomicrobia cells that bound fluorescently labeled laminarin and xylan and therefore constituted candidates for laminarin and xylan hydrolysis. In sediments, the bacterial community was dominated by different lineages of Verrucomicrobia, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria but also included members of multiple phylum-level lineages not observed in the water column. This community hydrolyzed laminarin, xylan, chondroitin sulfate, and three additional polysaccharide substrates at high rates. Comparisons with data from the same fjord in the previous summer showed that the bacterial community in Smeerenburgfjord changed in composition, most conspicuously in the changing detection frequency of Verrucomicrobia in the water column. Nonetheless, in both years the community hydrolyzed the same polysaccharide substrates.