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Title: Microbial stress mediated intercellular nanotubes in an anaerobic microbial consortium digesting cellulose
Authors: John, Martina
Trzcinski, Antoine Prandota
Zhou, Yan
Ng, Wun Jern
Keywords: Intercellular Nanotubes
Anaerobic Digestion
Issue Date: 2017
Source: John, M., Trzcinski, A. P., Zhou, Y., & Ng, W. J. (2017). Microbial stress mediated intercellular nanotubes in an anaerobic microbial consortium digesting cellulose. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 18006-.
Series/Report no.: Scientific Reports
Abstract: The anaerobic digestion process is a multi - step reaction dependent on concerted activities such as exchange of metabolites among physiologically different microbial communities. This study investigated the impact of iron oxide nanoparticles on the anaerobic sludge microbiota. It was shown there were three distinct microbial phases following addition of the nanoparticles: microbial stress and cell death of approximately one log order of magnitude, followed by microbial rewiring, and recovery. Furthermore, it was noted that cellular stress led to the establishment of intercellular nanotubes within the microbial biomass. Intercellular nanotube - mediated communication among genetically engineered microorganisms and ad hoc assembled co - cultures have been previously reported. This study presents evidence of intercellular nanotube formation within an environmental sample – i.e., anaerobic sludge microbiota subjected to stress. Our observations suggested a mode of microbial communication in the anaerobic digestion process not previously explored and which may have implications on bioreactor design and microbial functions.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-18198-w
Rights: © 2017 The Author(s) (Nature Publishing Group). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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