Microbial biotransformation of steroids

Microorganisms tend to have a relatively fast rate of evolution. Most microorganisms can reproduce rapidly, and bacteria are also able to freely exchange genes through conjugation , transformation and transduction , even between widely divergent species. [33] This horizontal gene transfer , coupled with a high mutation rate and other means of transformation, allows microorganisms to swiftly evolve (via natural selection ) to survive in new environments and respond to environmental stresses . This rapid evolution is important in medicine, as it has led to the development of multidrug resistant pathogenic bacteria , superbugs , that are resistant to antibiotics . [34]

Most sulfate-reducing microorganisms (SRM) present in subsurface marine sediments belong to uncultured groups only distantly related to known SRM and it remains unclear how changing geochemical zones and sediment depth influence their community structure. We mapped the community composition and abundance of SRM by amplicon-sequencing and quantifying dsrB, which encodes dissimilatory sulfite reductase subunit beta, in sediment samples covering different vertical geochemical zones ranging from the surface sediment to the deep sulfate-depleted subsurface at four locations in Aarhus Bay, Denmark. SRM were present in all geochemical zones including sulfate-depleted methanogenic sediment. The biggest shift in SRM community composition and abundance occurring across the transition from bioturbated surface sediments into non-bioturbated sediments below, where redox fluctuations and input of fresh organic matter due to macrofaunal activity are absent. SRM abundance correlated with sulfate reduction rates determined for the same sediments. Sulfate availability showed weaker correlation with SRM abundances and no significant correlation with the composition of the SRM community. The overall SRM species diversity decreased with depth, yet we identified a subset of highly abundant community members that persists across all vertical geochemical zones of all stations. We conclude that subsurface SRM communities assemble by persistence of members of the surface community and that the transition from the bioturbated surface sediment to the unmixed sediment below is a main site of assembly of the subsurface SRM community.

Microbial biotransformation of steroids

microbial biotransformation of steroids


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