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Temporal Dynamics of Microbial Communities in Microcosms in Response to Pollutants

Shuo Jiao, Zhengqing Zhang, Fan Yang, Yanbing Lin, Weimin Chen, Gehong Wei.

Molecular Ecology

DOI: 10.1111/mec.13978

 

 

Abstract: Elucidating the mechanisms underlying microbial succession is a major goal of microbial ecology research. Given the increasing human pressure on the environment and natural resources, responses to the repeated introduction of organic and inorganic pollutants are of particular interest. To investigate the temporal dynamics of microbial communities in response to pollutants, we analysed the microbial community structure in batch microcosms that were inoculated with soil bacteria following exposure to individual or combined pollutants (phenanthrene, n-octadecane, phenanthrene +n-octadecane and phenanthrene + n-octadecane + CdCl2). Subculturing was performed at 10-day intervals, followed by high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. The dynamics of microbial communities in response to different pollutants alone and in combination displayed similar patterns during enrichment. Specifically, the repression and induction of microbial taxa were dominant, and the fluctuation was not significant. The rate of appearance for new taxa and the temporal turnover within microbial communities were higher than the rates reported in other studies of microbial communities in air, water and soil samples. In addition, conditionally rare taxa that were specific to the treatments exhibited higher betweenness centrality values in the co-occurrence network, indicating a strong influence on other interactions in the community. These results suggest that the repeated introduction of pollutants could accelerate microbial succession in microcosms, resulting in the rapid re-equilibration of microbial communities.