Diversity and distribution of Anaeromyxobacter strains in a uranium-contaminated subsurface environment with a nonuniform groundwater flow

Sara H. Thomas, Elizabeth Padilla-Crespo, Phillip M. Jardine, Robert A. Sanford, Frank E. Löffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Versaphilic Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strains implicated in hexavalent uranium reduction and immobilization are present in the fractured saprolite subsurface environment at the U.S. Department of Energy Integrated Field-Scale Subsurface Research Challenge (IFC) site near Oak Ridge, TN. To provide insight into the in situ distribution of Anaeromyxobacter strains in this system with a nonuniform groundwater flow, 16S rRNA gene-targeted primers and linear hybridization (TaqMan) probes were designed for Oak Ridge IFC Anaeromyxobacter isolates FRC-D1 and FRC-W, along with an Anaeromyxobacter genus-targeted probe and primer set. Multiplex quantitative real-time PCR (mqPCR) was applied to samples collected from Oak Ridge IFC site areas 1 and 3, which are not connected by the primary groundwater flow paths; however, transport between them through cross-plane fractures is hypothesized. Strain FRC-W accounted for more than 10% of the total quantifiable Anaeromyxobacter community in area 1 soils, while strain FRC-D1 was not detected. In FeOOH-amended enrichment cultures derived from area 1 site materials, strain FRC-D1 accounted for 30 to 90% of the total Anaeromyxobacter community, demonstrating that this strain was present in situ in area 1. The area 3 total Anaeromyxobacter abundance exceeded that of area 1 by 3 to 5 orders of magnitude, but neither strain FRC-W- nor FRC-D1-like sequences were quantifiable in any of the 33 area 3 groundwater or sediment samples tested. The Anaeromyxobacter community in area 3 increased from <105 cells/g sediment outside the ethanol biostimulation treatment zone to 108 cells/g sediment near the injection well, and 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis revealed that representatives of a novel phylogenetic cluster dominated the area 3 Anaeromyxobacter community inside the treatment loop. The combined applications of genus- and strain-level mqPCR approaches along with clone libraries provided novel information on patterns of microbial variability within a bacterial group relevant to uranium bioremediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3679-3687
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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