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Relic DNA does not obscure the microbial community of paddy soil microbial fuel cells

Gustave, Williamson, Yuan, Zhao-Feng, Sekar, Raju, Toppin, Veronica, Liu, Jinjing-Yuan, Ren, Yu-Xiang, Zhang, Jun, Chen, Zheng
Research in microbiology 2019 v.170 no.2 pp. 97-104
DNA, Euryarchaeota, Geobacter, Sphingobacteriia, anodes, community structure, microbial communities, microbial fuel cells, paddy soils, soil microorganisms, soil profiles
Soil Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are devices that can generate electricity by using the flooded soil's anode respiring microbial consortium. When the MFC starts to work, the microbial community in the anode vicinity rapidly changes. This shift in the microbial community results in many dead cells that may release their DNA (relic DNA) and obscure culture independent estimates of microbial community composition. Although relic DNA is expected to increase in MFCs, the effect of relic DNA has not been investigated in the soil MFCs system. In this study the effect of the MFCs on the soil microbial community composition within the soil profile and the influence of relic DNA were investigated. Microbial community analysis revealed that the MFCs deployment significantly influenced the community composition within the soil profile. The phylum Proteobacteria (34.4% vs 23.6%) and the class Deltaproteobacteria (16.8% vs 5.9%) significantly increased in the MFCs compared to the control, while the phylum Firmicutes (24.0% vs 28.7%) and the class Sphingobacteria (5.3% vs 7.0%) were more abundant in the control. Furthermore, the archaeal phyla Euryarchaeota (40.7% vs 52.3%) and Bathyarchaeota (10.1% vs 17.3%) were significantly lower in the MFCs, whereas the phylum Woesearchaeota (DHVEG6) (24.4% vs 19.4%) was slightly enhanced. Moreover, the results showed that relic DNA can affect the relative abundance of Geobacter and Candidatus Methanoperedens, however, it has no significant effects on the microbial community structure. These results indicate that MFCs can influence the soil microbial community profile, nevertheless the relic DNA generated has minimum effect on the culture independent estimates of microbial community composition.