Scientists hit the ground with new devices for microbial research

The success of using the first technique called BONCAT to isolate active microbes present in soil samples. new research.

The land may be the most diverse microbial community on the plane, said Estel Curadaw, the first author of the study. Every gram of land has billions of cells, tens of thousands of species that together make important nutrient cycles on earth. They are the backbone of terrestrial ecosystems and healthy soil microbiomeries are the key to sustainable agriculture.

Tools to look at these types. Study of evidence the concept shows that BONCAT is an effective tool for connecting active microbes to environmental processes. Over the past two years, Kuradau, his co-author and many other researchers from across the United States collaborated in a scientifically oriented scientific field called Laboratories, Berkeley, called ENIGMA for ecosystems and integrated with genes and integrated network assemblies of molecular molecules to dig deeper in soil microbes.

The ENIGMA project is very important for biologists and scientists in the energy and earth fields not only because they help fill gaps in our knowledge of environmental functions, but also because these basic findings can help scientists implement it more effectively. Use microbes effectively, to improve the dry resistance of plants, to eliminate environmental pollutants, and to produce fuel and other bioproducts on an ongoing basis.

However, because most soil microbes do not grow in culture in the laboratory, and because of their real gift in their natural habitat, microbial species carry out research, which is very difficult.

There are many obstacles to measuring microbial activity and interactions said Trent Norman, lead author and director of biotechnology at ENIGMA. For example, microbiomic soil removes waste from groundwater tanks, they are hundreds of feet below the surface. And in some ecosystems, up to 95% of the germs are active at all times.

Because direct observation is unusual, microbiologists usually collect environmental samples and rely on indirect approaches such as DNA sequencing to characterize the community. However, most of the most commonly used techniques do not distinguish active microbes from latent microbes or the number of free floating DNA particles found in soil and sediments. BONCAT, a short labeling of bioorthogonal noncanonical amino acids, was isolated by geneticists at Caltech 2006 as a way to rediscover protein into cells.

In 2014, Rex Malmstrom, Daniel Goodall and others from the United States Genome Combined Institute (JGI) to the United States Department of Energy, operated by Berkeley Lab, worked with Victoria Orphan in Caltech to adapt to the active laboratory BONCAT device, identification of symbiotic groups from tens to hundreds of marine microbes in marine sediments. After further processing their approach called BONCAT Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorting BONCAT + FACS, they were able to identify individual active microbes.

As the name implies, BONCAT + FACS allows researchers to sort single cell organisms for the presence or absence of fluorescent marker molecules that bind to a modified version of the amino acid methionine.

When liquids containing modified methionine have been inserted into microbial samples, only those that produce new proteins will become a distinguishing feature of the modified methionine activity in the cell.

In addition to being leaner and more reliable than previous methods for identifying microorganisms, the whole process only takes a few hours, which means you can mark active cells even if they don’t replicate. Because some soil microbes are known to slow down growth, many scientists are now interested in applying BONCAT + FACS to terrestrial soil. After three months of experimentation and optimization, the ENIGMA and JGI research teams developed protocols that worked smoothly and, above all, provided many reproducible results.

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