Biofilm Formation and Adaptation by Pseudomonas fluorescens on both Biotite and Glass Coupons Under Varying Fe-Nutrient Availability

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Michael Grant1, Gregory L Helms1, Zhenqing Shi1, Linda Thomashow2, C K Keller1 and James B Harsh3, (1)Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States, (2)Washington State University, USDA-ARS, Pullman, WA, United States, (3)WA St Univ-Crop & Soil Science, Pullman, WA, United States
We isolated an efficient weathering strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens from the rhizosphere of a White Pine (Pinus strobus) seedling. We grew it in a drip-flow biofilm reactor using both Fe-abundant and Fe-deficient media on either a glass or biotite coupon. Our working hypothesis was that the bacterium would respond to Fe deficiency by enhancing biotite weathering through an increase in the relative amount of polysaccharides in the biofilm compared to the Fe-abundant treatment. Because Fe is necessary for biofilm development, we hypothesized that biomass production on the biotite surface would exceed that on a Fe-free glass slide only in the Fe-deficient medium. We quantified total biomass, specific number of viable cells (SNVC), and the concentrations of K, Mg, and Fe in the biofilm. High-resolution magic angle spinning proton nuclear magnetic resonance (HR-MAS 1H-NMR) spectroscopy was used to characterize the biofilm matrix in terms of relative biofilm constituent concentrations. Compared with biofilms grown on glass, biofilms grown on biotite had higher total biomass and SNVC irrespective of Fe supply, with a near doubling of both the biofilm biomass from 0.43 to 0.76 mg cm-2 and SNVC from 1.52 × 107 to 3.24 × 107 CFU cm-2 mg-1 when Fe was deficient, and an increase in biomass from 1.94 to 2.46 mg cm-2 and in SNVC from 8.39 × 107 to 1.96 × 108 CFU cm-2 mg-1 when Fe was sufficient. Similarly with Fe deficient, the cation concentrations in biofilms grown on biotite vs. glass increased 2.14 and 2.46 times for K and Mg, respectively, and 7.01 times for Fe. When Fe was sufficient, the concentrations of cations increased 1.24, 2.07, and 3.77 times for K, Mg, and Fe, respectively. Based on NMR spectra, no significant change in biofilm chemistry occurred between the glass and biotite systems whether Fe was deficient or not. However, we did observe an increase in the ratio of the integrated areas corresponding to the carbohydrate and protein NMR regions, increasing from 0.52 for biofilms grown on biotite with Fe, to 0.74 for biofilms grown on biotite without Fe. The response to Fe deficiency suggests that the biofilm adapted to nutrient stress rather than the surface it attached to and that the primary response was increased polysaccharide production.