Culture‐independent Characterization of a Novel Magnetotactic Member Affiliated to the Beta Class of the Proteobacteria Phylum from an Acidic Lagoon

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Environmental Microbiology





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Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) comprise a group of motile microorganisms common in most mesothermal aquatic habitats with pH values around neutrality. However, during the last two decades, a number of MTB from extreme environments have been characterized including: cultured alkaliphilic strains belonging to the Deltaproteobacteria class of the Proteobacteria phylum; uncultured moderately thermophilic strains belonging to the Nitrospirae phylum; cultured and uncultured moderately halophilic or strongly halotolerant bacteria affiliated with the Deltaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria classes and an uncultured psychrophilic species belonging to the Alphaproteobacteria class. Here, we used culture‐independent techniques to characterize MTB from an acidic freshwater lagoon in Brazil (pH ∼ 4.4). MTB morphotypes found in this acidic lagoon included cocci, rods, spirilla and vibrioid cells. Magnetite (Fe3O4) was the only mineral identified in magnetosomes of these MTB while magnetite magnetosome crystal morphologies within the different MTB cells included cuboctahedral (present in spirilla), elongated prismatic (present in cocci and vibrios) and bullet‐shaped (present in rod‐shaped cells). Intracellular pH measurements using fluorescent dyes showed that the cytoplasmic pH was close to neutral in most MTB cells and acidic in some intracellular granules. Based on 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analyses, some of the retrieved gene sequences belonged to the genus Herbaspirillumwithin the Betaproteobacteria class of the Proteobacteria phylum. Fluorescent in situhybridization using a Herbaspirillum‐specific probe hybridized with vibrioid MTB in magnetically‐enriched samples. Transmission electron microscopy of the Herbaspirillum‐like MTB revealed the presence of many intracellular granules and a single chain of elongated prismatic magnetite magnetosomes. Diverse populations of MTB have not seemed to have been described in detail in an acid environment. In addition, this is the first report of an MTB phylogenetically affiliated with Betaproteobacteria class.


Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology



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