Argonne National Laboratory

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Insights Into Microbial Denitrification from Combined Cultivation, Genomic and Metagenomic Approaches

Stefan J. Green, University of Illinois at Chicago
February 11, 2013 10:00AM to 11:00AM
Building 202, Room B169
The integration of cultivation-based and cultivation-independent analyses of microbial communities is essential for improved understanding of community function and potential. Here, I report on the combined metagenomic, isolation and genomic analysis of denitrifying bacteria from the highly contaminated subsurface of the Oak Ridge Integrated Field Research Challenge (ORIFRC) site, and the implications of this analysis on denitrifying bacteria and other functional groups of microorganisms at a much broader scale.

These analyses revealed that:

  • (a) commonly-used primer sets targeting functional genes are inadequate for survey purposes of environmental denitrifiers,
  • (b) cultivation-based approaches can potentially produce misleading results if not coupled with whole genome sequencing, and
  • (c) comparative genomics of multiple members of a single genus are important for understanding the nature of denitrification in environmental systems.

These findings call for improvements in approaches to the analysis of functional groups of microorganisms in complex environments.