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Environmental Pollution
Volume 275, 2021, 116643

Benthic prokaryotic microbial community assembly and biogeochemical potentials in E. coli - Stressed aquatic ecosystems during plant decomposition?

Li Gua,b, Jian-yi Wua,b, Zu-lin Huaa,b

Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lake of Ministry of Education, College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China.


Benthic microbes play a crucial role in maintaining the biogeochemical balance of aquatic ecosystems especially the material cycling during plant decomposition. However, those systems in agricultural area are always threatened by agricultural run-off containing a mass of typical pathogenic invader- Escherichia coli. It is therefore vital to clarify the turnover, assembly, and geochemical functions of the E. coli invaded benthic prokaryotic microbial community during plant decomposition. During the decaying process, the key filtering factors of benthic community assembly were NH4+-N (P < 0.001), NO2−-N (P < 0.01), and Organic-N (P < 0.05). The E. coli colonized significantly in sediments (P < 0.001) and drove the turnover of the bacterial community (P = 0.001), which enhanced archaeal dominance in the benthic microbial network. E. coli also triggered niche structural variations. The biomass (%) of benthic nutrient cycling genera including DechloromonasPseudomonasBacteroidesCandidatus_Methanofastidiosum, and Desulfomicrobium (P < 0.05) was altered by E. coli stress. The structural equation model illustrated that E. coli critically affected the benthic microbial geochemical functions in multiple pathways (P < 0.05). Our results provide new insights into benthic prokaryotic microbial community assembly and nutrient cycling and management under pollution stress.

Keywords: Exogenous E. coli, Aquatic plant decomposition, Benthic prokaryotic microorganisms, Microbial community assembly, Niche width, Nutrient cycling.

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