Mobilization of Pollutant-Degrading Bacteria by Eukaryotic Zoospores

Rungroch Sungthong, Pieter Van West, Fredrik Heyman, Dan Funck Jensen, Jose Julio Ortega-Calvo

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The controlled mobilization of pollutant-degrading bacteria has been identified as a promising strategy for improving bioremediation performance. We tested the hypothesis whether the mobilization of bacterial degraders may be achieved by the action of eukaryotic zoospores. We evaluated zoospores that are produced by the soil oomycete Pythium aphanidermatum as a biological vector, and, respectively, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria Mycobacterium gilvum VM552 and Pseudomonas putida G7, acting as representative nonflagellated and flagellated species. The mobilization assay was performed with a chemical-in-capillary method, in which zoospores mobilized bacterial cells only when they were exposed to a zoospore homing inducer (5% (v/v) ethanol), which caused the tactic response and settlement of zoospores. The mobilization was strongly linked to a lack of bacterial motility, because the nonflagellated cells from strain M. gilvum VM552 and slightly motile, stationary-phase cells from P. putida G7 were mobilized effectively, but the actively motile, exponentially grown cells of P. putida G7 were not mobilized. The computer-assisted analysis of cell motility in mixed suspensions showed that the swimming rate was enhanced by zoospores in stationary, but not in exponentially grown, cells of P. putida G7. It is hypothesized that the directional swimming of zoospores caused bacterial mobilization through the thrust force of their flagellar propulsion. Our results suggest that, by mobilizing pollutant-degrading bacteria, zoospores can act as ecological amplifiers for fungal and oomycete mycelial networks in soils, extending their potential in bioremediation scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7633-7640
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number14
Early online date10 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CGL2010-22068-C02-01 and CGL2013- 44554-R), the Andalusian Government (RNM 2337), and the CSIC JAE Program (RS). PvW has funding support from the
BBSRC and NERC. Thanks are also given to Sara Hosseini of the Uppsala BioCenter, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden for a useful discussion on oomycete zoospores.


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