Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Study sheds light on key role for ‘rare’ aquatic microbes in dealing with pollution, balancing ecosystems

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers have found that bacteria present in only small numbers in freshwater systems contain key genes that help the broader microbial community respond to environmental changes such as pollution or oil spills. The team used water from Lake Lanier northeast of Atlanta to test how microbial communities respond to common organic compounds. (Photo Courtesy: PBT1981 via Wikimedia Commons)

Even bacteria found in small numbers in freshwater communities play an essential role in maintaining the ecosystem and responding to environmental changes, according to new work from researchers in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This “rare biosphere,” as they called it, carries important genes for breaking down organic pollutants, which can help the entire microbial community withstand environmental changes. Their study appeared March 3 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Monday, March 6, 2017
Subscribe to Applied and Environmental Microbiology