Increasing the Richness of Culturable Arsenic-Tolerant Bacteria from Theonella swinhoei by Addition of Sponge Skeleton to the Growth Medium

Ray Keren*, Adi Lavy, Micha Ilan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theonella swinhoei is an arsenic hyper-accumulator sponge, harboring a multitude of associated bacteria. These bacteria reside in the mesohyl, the dense extracellular matrix of the sponge. Previous elemental analysis of separated cell fractions from the sponge had determined that arsenic is localized to the associated bacteria. Subsequently, sponge-associated arsenic-tolerant bacteria were isolated here and grouped into 15 operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 97 % similarity). Both culture-dependent and culture-independent work had revealed that T. swinhoei harbors a highly diverse bacterial community. It was thus hypothesized the acclimation of bacteria in the presence of a sponge skeleton, better mimicking its natural environment, would increase the yield of isolation of sponge-associated bacteria. Using seven modularly designed media, 380 bacteria isolates were grown and grouped into 22 OTUs. Inclusion of sponge skeleton in the growth medium promoted bacterial growth in all seven media, accounting for 20 of the 22 identified OTUs (the other two in a medium without skeleton). Diversity and richness indices were calculated for each treatment or combination of treatments with shared growth parameters. Integrating data inherent in the modularly designed media with the ecological indices led to the formation of new hypotheses regarding the aeration conditions and expected arsenic form in situ. Both aerobic and anoxic conditions are expected to occur in the sponge (temporally and/or spatially). Arsenate is expected to be the dominant (or even the only) arsenic form in the sponge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-886
Number of pages14
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Volume71
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

Funding

FundersFunder number
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space
Israel Science Foundation957/14
Israel Science Foundation

    Keywords

    • Arsenic
    • Bacterial cultivation
    • Diversity indices
    • Porifera
    • Symbionts
    • Theonella swinhoei

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