Microbial Interactions with Natural Organic Matter Extracted from the Oak Ridge FRC
Abstract:Natural organic matter (NOM) is central to microbial food webs; however, little is known about the interplay between the physical and chemical characteristics of NOM and its turnover by microbial communities based upon biotic and abiotic parameters (e.g., biogenic precursors, redox state, bioavailability). Microbial activity changes the structures and properties that influence further bioavailability of NOM. To date, our understanding of these interactions is insufficient, and indigenous microbial activities that regulate NOM turnover are poorly resolved. It is critical to identify NOM characteristics to the structure and composition of microbial communities and to the metabolic potential of that community.
Towards that end, sediment samples collected from the background area well FW305 (Oak Ridge Field Research Center, Oak Ridge, TN) were tested for NOM extraction methods that used three mild solvents, e.g., phosphate buffered saline (PBS), pyrophosphate, and MilliQ-water. MilliQ-water was finally chosen for extracting sediment samples via shaking and sonication. Groundwater from well FW301 was used as an inoculum to which the extracted NOM was added as carbon sources to feed native microbes. To identify the specific functional groups of extracted NOM that are bioavailable to indigenous microbes, several techniques, including FTIR, LC-MS, EEM, were applied to characterize the extracted NOM as well as the transformed NOM metabolites. 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing was also performed to identify the specific microbial diversity that was enriched and microbial isolates that preferentially grew with these NOM was also cultivated in the lab for future detailed studies.