Browsing by Subject "Interspecies interactions"

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  • Omidi, Azam; Esterhuizen-Londt, Maranda; Pflugmacher, Stephan (2019)
    Although microcystins (MCs) are the most commonly studied cyanotoxins, their significance to the producing organisms remains unclear. MCs are known as endotoxins, but they can be found in the surrounding environment due to cell lysis, designated as extracellular MCs. In the present study, the interactions between MC producing and the non-producing strains of Microcystis aeruginosa, PCC 7806 and PCC 7005, respectively, and a green alga, Desmodesmus subspicatus, were studied to better understand the probable ecological importance of MCs at the collapse phase of cyanobacterial blooms. We applied a dialysis co-cultivation system where M. aeruginosa was grown inside dialysis tubing for one month. Then, D. subspicatus was added to the culture system on the outside of the membrane. Consequently, the growth of D. subspicatus and MC contents were measured over a 14-day co-exposure period. The results showed that Microcystis negatively affected the green alga as the growth of D. subspicatus was significantly inhibited in co-cultivation with both the MC-producing and -deficient strains. However, the inhibitory effect of the MC-producing strain was greater and observed earlier compared to the MC-deficient strain. Thus, MCs might be considered as an assistant factor that, in combination with other secondary metabolites of Microcystis, reinforce the ability to outcompete co-existing species.
  • Omidi, Azam; Esterhuizen-Londt, Maranda; Pflugmacher, Stephan (2019)
    In lakes, cyanobacterial blooms are frequently associated with green algae and dominate the phytoplankton community in successive waves. In the present study, the interactions between Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806 and Desmodesmus subspicatus were studied to clarify the probable ecological significance of algal secondary metabolites; focusing on the role of cyanotoxin ‘microcystin-LR’(MC-LR). A dialysis co-cultivation technique was applied where M. aeruginosa was grown inside and D. subspicatus was cultured outside of the dialysis tubing. The concentration of the intra- and extracellular MC-LR and the growth of two species were measured at different time points over a period of one month. Additionally, the growth of the two species in the culture filtrate of one another and the effect of the purified MC-LR on the growth of the green alga were studied. The results indicated that the co-existing species could affect each other depending on the growth phases. Despite the early dominance of D. subspicatus during the logarithmic phase,M. aeruginosa suppressed the growth of the green alga at the stationary phase, which coincided with increased MC production and release. However, the inhibitory effects of Microcystis might be related to its other extracellular metabolites rather than, or possibly in addition to, MC
  • van der Ark, Kees C. H.; van Heck, Ruben G. A.; Dos Santos, Vitor A. P. Martins; Belzer, Clara; de Vos, Willem M. (2017)
    The human gut is colonized with a myriad of microbes, with substantial interpersonal variation. This complex ecosystem is an integral part of the gastrointestinal tract and plays a major role in the maintenance of homeostasis. Its dysfunction has been correlated to a wide array of diseases, but the understanding of causal mechanisms is hampered by the limited amount of cultured microbes, poor understanding of phenotypes, and the limited knowledge about interspecies interactions. Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) have been used in many different fields, ranging from metabolic engineering to the prediction of interspecies interactions. We provide showcase examples for the application of GEMs for gut microbes and focus on (i) the prediction of minimal, synthetic, or defined media; (ii) the prediction of possible functions and phenotypes; and (iii) the prediction of interspecies interactions. All three applications are key in understanding the role of individual species in the gut ecosystem as well as the role of the microbiota as a whole. Using GEMs in the described fashions has led to designs of minimal growth media, an increased understanding of microbial phenotypes and their influence on the host immune system, and dietary interventions to improve human health. Ultimately, an increased understanding of the gut ecosystem will enable targeted interventions in gut microbial composition to restore homeostasis and appropriate host-microbe crosstalk.