Estimating the Abundance of Endospores of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria in Environmental Samples by Inducing Germination and Exponential Growth

Julia Rosa de Rezende, Casey R. J. Hubert, Hans Røy, Kasper Urup Kjeldsen, Bo Barker Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

It is a challenge to quantitatively distinguish active from dormant microbial populations in environmental samples. Here we present an approach for estimating the abundance of dormant sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), present as viable endospores in environmental samples. This is achieved by inducing endospores to germinate and grow exponentially. We demonstrate this approach for thermophilic SRB in temperate sediment from Aarhus Bay, Denmark. The approach is based on measuring bulk sulfate reduction rates (SRRs) in pasteurized sediment and calculating associated cell-specific SRRs based on average values for SRB growth yield and cell size known from exponentially growing pure cultures. The method presented is a faster bioassay than most probable number enumerations and has the potential to distinguish between slow- and fast-growing SRB populations in the same sample. This bioassay is attractive given the challenges posed by endospores with respect to cell permeabilization and lysis, which are prerequisite in quantitative microscopy- and nucleic acid extraction-based strategies. These molecular approaches additionally rely on designing target-appropriate oligonucleotide probes, whereas the method presented here considers the trait of interest more broadly. This strategy thus presents a useful complement to other methods in ecological investigations of microbial biogeography and for specific industrial applications such as reservoir souring and corrosion risk assessments in the oil and gas sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Volume34
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Dormancy
  • Firmicutes
  • sulfate-reducing bacteria
  • oil reservoir souring
  • quantification methods

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