To accomplish this, UMass Amherst’s Nüsslein, with colleagues from the universities of Texas, Oregon, Michigan State and the University of Sao Paolo recently launched a microbial observatory project to catalog microbial diversity and study effects of local agricultural practices in Brazil’s Rondonia region. The work is funded by an $800,000 four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition to serving as a repository for soils in which as many as 38,000 microbial species may be present in one cubic centimeter, the observatory will catalog the baseline bacterial diversity in three target habitats: pristine rainforest, burned-and-cleared grazing areas, and second-growth rainforest at different time stages, Nüsslein says.
After months of planning, Nüsslein and colleagues began the observatory with the first collecting trip to Rondonia at the end of the recent rainy season. They took a total 450 cores from the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil in a grid pattern at several locations in each of the three habitat types. Because soils were collected from second-growth forests known to have been cut in 1911, 1972, 1987 and 2001, the microbiologist adds, experiments will be able to assess the rainforest soils’ ability to recover from clearing and burning over time.
The Amazon region is greatly threatened by habitat loss from ranching, where old-growth rainforest is routinely cleared and replaced by a monoculture of African grass for cattle grazing, Nüsslein points out. An estimated 17 percent of the original habitat is already gone. And despite years of research on Amazonian plants and animals, the soil microbial ecosystem underfoot is among the least understood, the microbiologist adds. Thus, a conservatory where samples will be available to other investigators worldwide, plus focused experiments to answer soil ecology questions is needed.
Specifically, Nüsslein and colleagues plan to use three measures of genomic variability and biodiversity in two marker species, the so-called “universalist” Burkholderia and the slow growing Acidobacteria, which have different physiological strategies and thus represent different ecological niches. The researchers will use high-throughput genome sequencing to assess 400,000 ribosomal RNA marker genes at the same time, as well as gene chip arrays to evaluate the status and spatial patterns of known functional genes in these two bacteria genera from each of the three different habitats and across time.
Burkholderia is known as a “DNA hog,” according to Nüsslein, because like “the Borg” from Star Trek, upon meeting a new organic compound, it incorporates new DNA. It can thus live on numerous different food sources or acquire antibiotic resistance, for example. For the microbial observatory, it is useful as a marker of diversity because it retains a record of these encounters in its own DNA.
“We’ll assess the genomic variability of Burkholderia species as one measure of diversity, and follow the shift in Burkholderia diversity from native rainforest via the impact of deforestation to agricultural monoculture,” the microbiologist notes.
By contrast, Acidobacteria are “fastidious” eaters. By surveying their numbers in soil samples, the researchers can assess a different ecozone. Preliminary results are expected in the spring of 2010, when the team heads out to sample again.
One other factor adds to the depth of information to be collected for the microbial observatory: Chemists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution funded by the National Science Foundation have for many years studied greenhouse gases in this same Rondonia region in Amazonia. “This will make multiple layers of climate and other ecological data, along with our microbial inventory, available for study,” says Nüsslein. “Altogether we are creating an unusually rich repository of soil ecological information for future research use.”Klaus Nüsslein
Klaus Nüsslein | Newswise Science News
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences