AME 72:117-126 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01688

Evidence for free-living Bacteroides in Cladophora along the shores of the Great Lakes

Richard L. Whitman, Muruleedhara N. Byappanahalli*, Ashley M. Spoljaric, Kasia Przybyla-Kelly, Dawn A. Shively, Meredith B. Nevers

United States Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station, 1100 North Mineral Springs Road, Porter, Indiana 46304, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bacteroides is assumed to be restricted to the alimentary canal of animals and humans and is considered to be non-viable in ambient environments. We hypothesized that Bacteroides could persist and replicate within beach-stranded Cladophora glomerata mats in southern Lake Michigan, USA. Mean Bacteroides concentration (per GenBac3 Taqman quantitative PCR assay) during summer 2012 at Jeorse Park Beach was 5.2 log calibrator cell equivalents (CCE) g-1 dry weight (dw), ranging from 3.7 to 6.7. We monitored a single beach-stranded mat for 3 wk; bacterial concentrations increased by 1.6 log CCE g-1 dw  and correlated significantly with ambient temperature (p = 0.003). Clonal growth was evident, as observed by >99% nucleotide sequence similarity among clones. In in vitro studies, Bacteroides concentrations increased by 5.5 log CCE g-1 after 7 d (27°C) in fresh Cladophora collected from rocks. Partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene of 36 clones from the incubation experiment showed highly similar genotypes (≥97% sequence overlap). The closest enteric Bacteroides spp. from the National Center for Biotechnology Information database were only 87 to 91% similar. Genomic similarity, clonality, growth, and persistence collectively suggest that putative, free-living Bacteroides inhabit Cladophora mats of southern Lake Michigan. These findings may have important biological, medical, regulatory, microbial source tracking, and public health implications.


KEY WORDS: Anaerobic environments · Bacteroides · Cladophora · Sequencing · Uncultured bacteria


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Cite this article as: Whitman RL, Byappanahalli MN, Spoljaric AM, Przybyla-Kelly K, Shively DA, Nevers MB (2014) Evidence for free-living Bacteroides in Cladophora along the shores of the Great Lakes. Aquat Microb Ecol 72:117-126. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01688

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