Chain elongation by medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA)-producing microbiomes offers an opportunity to produce valuable chemicals from organic streams that would otherwise be considered waste. However, the physiology and energetics of chain elongation are only beginning to be studied, and many of these organisms remain uncultured. We analyzed MCFA production by two uncultured organisms that were identified as the main MCFA producers in a microbial community enriched from an anaerobic digester; this characterization, which is based on meta-multi-omic analysis, complements the knowledge that has been acquired from pure-culture studies. The analysis revealed previously unreported features of the metabolism of MCFA-producing organisms.
AbstractAnaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria mediate a key step in the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle and have been applied worldwide for the energy-efficient removal of nitrogen from wastewater. However, outside their core energy metabolism, little is known about the metabolic networks driving anammox bacterial anabolism and mixotrophy beyond genome-based predictions. Here, we experimentally resolved the central carbon metabolism of the anammox bacterium Candidatus ‘Kuenenia stuttgartiensis’ using time-series 13C and 2H isotope tracing, metabolomics, and isotopically nonstationary metabolic flux analysis (INST-MFA). Our findings confirm predicted metabolic pathways used for CO2 fixation, central metabolism, and amino acid biosynthesis in K. stuttgartiensis, and reveal several instances where genomic predictions are not supported by in vivo metabolic fluxes. This includes the use of an oxidative tricarboxylic acid cycle, despite the genome not encoding a known citrate synthase. We also demonstrate that K. stuttgartiensis is able to directly assimilate extracellular formate via the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway instead of oxidizing it completely to CO2 followed by reassimilation. In contrast, our data suggests that K. stuttgartiensis is not capable of using acetate as a carbon or energy source in situ and that acetate oxidation occurred via the metabolic activity of a low-abundance microorganism in the bioreactor’s side population. Together, these findings provide a foundation for understanding the carbon metabolism of anammox bacteria at a systems-level and will inform future studies aimed at elucidating factors governing their function and niche differentiation in natural and engineered ecosystems.
ABSTRACTChain elongation is emerging as a bioprocess to produce valuable medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA; 6 to 8 carbons in length) from organic waste streams by harnessing the metabolism of anaerobic microbiomes. Although our understanding of chain elongation physiology is still evolving, the reverse β-oxidation pathway has been identified as a key metabolic function to elongate the intermediate products of fermentation to MCFA. Here, we describe two chain-elongating microorganisms that were enriched in an anaerobic microbiome transforming the residues from a lignocellulosic biorefining process to short- and medium-chain fatty acids. Based on a multi-omic analysis of this microbiome, we predict thatCandidatusWeimerbacter bifidus, gen. nov., sp. nov. used xylose to produce MCFA, whereasCandidatusPseudoramibacter fermentans, sp. nov., used glycerol and lactate as substrates for chain elongation. Both organisms are predicted to use an energy conserving hydrogenase to improve the overall bioenergetics of MCFA production.IMPORTANCEMicrobiomes are vital to human health, agriculture, environmental processes, and are receiving attention as biological catalysts for production of renewable industrial chemicals. Chain elongation by MCFA-producing microbiomes offer an opportunity to produce valuable chemicals from organic streams that otherwise would be considered waste. However, the physiology and energetics of chain elongation is only beginning to be studied, and we are analyzing MCFA production by self-assembled communities to complement the knowledge that has been acquired from pure culture studies. Through a multi-omic analysis of an MCFA-producing microbiome, we characterized metabolic functions of two chain elongating bacteria and predict previously unreported features of this process.
Accumulibacter phosphatis” is widely found in full-scale wastewater treatment plants, where it has been identified as the key organism for biological removal of phosphorus. Since aeration can account for 50% of the energy use during wastewater treatment, microaerobic conditions for wastewater treatment have emerged as a cost-effective alternative to conventional biological nutrient removal processes. Our report provides strong genomics-based evidence not only that “
. Accumulibacter phosphatis” is the main organism contributing to phosphorus removal under microaerobic conditions but also that this organism simultaneously respires nitrate and oxygen in this environment, consequently removing nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater. Such activity could be harnessed in innovative designs for cost-effective and energy-efficient optimization of wastewater treatment systems.
-like bacteria are among the most diverse and widespread nitrifiers in natural ecosystems and the dominant nitrite oxidizers in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The recent discovery of comammox-like
strains, capable of complete oxidation of ammonia to nitrate, raises new questions about specific traits responsible for the functional versatility and adaptation of this genus to a variety of environments. The availability of new
genome sequences from both nitrite-oxidizing and comammox bacteria offers a way to analyze traits in different
functional groups. Our comparative genomics analysis provided new insights into the adaptation of
strains to specific lifestyles and environmental niches.