Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2023.120426
Title (Primary) Metabolic versatility enables sulfur-oxidizers to dominate primary production in groundwater
Author Heinze, B.M.; Küsel, K.; Jehmlich, N. ORCID logo ; von Bergen, M.; Taubert, M.
Source Titel Water Research
Year 2023
Department MOLSYB
Volume 244
Page From art. 120426
Language englisch
Topic T9 Healthy Planet
Abstract High rates of CO2 fixation and the genetic potential of various groundwater microbes for autotrophic activity have shown that primary production is an important source of organic C in groundwater ecosystems. However, the contribution of specific chemolithoautotrophic groups such as S-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) to groundwater primary production and their adaptation strategies remain largely unknown. Here, we stimulated anoxic groundwater microcosms with reduced S and sampled the microbial community after 1, 3 and 6 weeks. Genome-resolved metaproteomics was combined with 50at-% 13CO2 stable isotope probing to follow the C flux through the microbial food web and infer traits expressed by active SOB in the groundwater microcosms. Already after 7 days, 90% of the total microbial biomass C in the microcosms was replaced by CO2-derived C, increasing to 97% at the end of incubation. Stable Isotope Cluster Analysis revealed active autotrophs, characterized by a uniform 13C-incorporation of 45% in their peptides, to dominate the microbial community throughout incubation. Mixo- and heterotrophs, characterized by 10 to 40% 13C-incorporation, utilized the primarily produced organic C. Interestingly, obligate autotrophs affiliated with Sulfuricella and Sulfuritalea contained traits enabling the storage of elemental S in globules to maintain primary production under energy limitation. Others related to Sulfurimonas seemed to rapidly utilize substrates for fast proliferation, and most autotrophs further maximized their energy yield via efficient denitrification and the potential for H2 oxidation. Mixotrophic SOB, belonging to Curvibacter or Polaromonas, enhanced metabolic flexibility by using organic compounds to satisfy their C requirements. Time series data spanning eight years further revealed that key taxa of our microcosms composed up to 15% of the microbial groundwater community, demonstrating their in-situ importance. This showed that SOB, by using different metabolic strategies, are able to account for high rates of primary production in groundwater, especially at sites limited to geogenic nutrient sources. The widespread presence of SOB with traits such as S storage, H2 oxidation, and organic C utilization in many aquatic habitats further suggested that metabolic versatility governs S-fueled primary production in the environment.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Heinze, B.M., Küsel, K., Jehmlich, N., von Bergen, M., Taubert, M. (2023):
Metabolic versatility enables sulfur-oxidizers to dominate primary production in groundwater
Water Res. 244 , art. 120426 10.1016/j.watres.2023.120426