Section 12
Chapter 11,149

Phylogenetic analysis of culturable dimethyl sulfide-producing bacteria from a spartina-dominated salt marsh and estuarine water

Ansede, J.H.; Friedman, R.; Yoch, D.C.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 67(3): 1210-1217


ISSN/ISBN: 0099-2240
PMID: 11229912
DOI: 10.1128/aem.67.3.1210-1217.2001
Accession: 011148058

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Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), an abundant osmoprotectant found in marine algae and salt marsh cordgrass, can be metabolized to dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and acrylate by microbes having the enzyme DMSP lyase. A suite of DMS-producing bacteria isolated from a salt marsh and adjacent estuarine water on DMSP agar plates differed markedly from the pelagic strains currently in culture. While many of the salt marsh and estuarine isolates produced DMS and methanethiol from methionine and dimethyl sulfoxide, none appeared to be capable of producing both methanethiol and DMS from DMSP. DMSP, and its degradation products acrylate and beta-hydroxypropionate but not methyl-3-mecaptopropionate or 3-mercaptopropionate, served as a carbon source for the growth of all the alpha- and beta- but only some of the gamma-proteobacterium isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that all of the isolates were in the group Proteobacteria, with most of them belonging to the alpha and gamma subclasses. Only one isolate was identified as a beta-proteobacterium, and it had >98% 16S rRNA sequence homology with a terrestrial species of Alcaligenes faecalis. Although bacterial population analysis based on culturability has its limitations, bacteria from the alpha and gamma subclasses of the Proteobacteria were the dominant DMS producers isolated from salt marsh sediments and estuaries, with the gamma subclass representing 80% of the isolates. The alpha-proteobacterium isolates were all in the Roseobacter subgroup, while many of the gamma-proteobacteria were closely related to the pseudomonads; others were phylogenetically related to Marinomonas, Psychrobacter, or Vibrio species. These data suggest that DMSP cleavage to DMS and acrylate is a characteristic widely distributed among different phylotypes in the salt marsh-estuarine ecosystem.

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