Degradation of terephthalate (TA) through microbial syntrophy under moderately thermophilic (46 to 50°C) methanogenic conditions was characterized by using a metagenomic approach (A. Lykidis et al., ISME J. 5:122-130, 2011). To further study the activities of key microorganisms responsible for the TA degradation, community analysis and shotgun proteomics were used. The results of hierarchical oligonucleotide primer extension analysis of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA genes indicated that Pelotomaculum, Methanosaeta, and Methanolinea were predominant in the TA-degrading biofilms. Metaproteomic analysis identified a total of 482 proteins and revealed a distinctive distribution pattern of microbial functions expressed in situ. The results confirmed that TA was degraded by Pelotomaculum spp. via the proposed decarboxylation and benzoyl-coenzyme A-dependent pathway. The intermediate by-products, including acetate, H2/CO2, and butyrate, were produced to support the growth of methanogens, as well as other microbial populations that could further degrade butyrate. Proteins related to energy production and conservation, and signal transduction mechanisms (that is, chemotaxis, PAS/GGDEF regulators, and stress proteins) were highly expressed, and these mechanisms were important for growth in energy-limited syntrophic ecosystems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology