Microbial diversity in a military impacted lagoon (Vieques, Puerto Rico) and description of “Candidatus Biekeibacterium resiliens” gen. nov., sp. nov. comprising a new bacterial family

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Santiago L., Deleon-Rodriguez N., Lasanta-Pagán K., Hatt J. K. , Kurt Z. , Massol-Deyá A., ...More

Systematic and Applied Microbiology, vol.45, no.1, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.syapm.2021.126288
  • Title of Journal : Systematic and Applied Microbiology
  • Keywords: Biodegradation genes, Lagoons metagenomes, Natural attenuation


© 2021The Anones Lagoon, located in the Island Municipality of Vieques, Puerto Rico (PR), received extensive bombing by the US Navy during military exercises for decades until 2003 when military activities ceased. Here, we employed shotgun metagenomic sequencing to investigate how microbial communities responded to pollution by heavy metals and explosives at this lagoon. Sediment samples (0–5 cm) from Anones were collected in 2005 and 2014 and compared to samples from two reference lagoons, i.e., Guaniquilla, Cabo Rojo (a natural reserve) and Condado, San Juan (PR's capital city). Consistent with low anthropogenic inputs, Guaniquilla exhibited the highest degree of diversity with a lower frequency of genes related to xenobiotics metabolism between the three lagoons. Notably, a clear shift was observed in Anones, with Euryarchaeota becoming enriched (9% of total) and a concomitant increase in community diversity, by about one order of magnitude, after almost 10 years without bombing activities. In contrast, genes associated with explosives biodegradation and heavy metal transformation significantly decreased in abundance in Anones 2014 (by 91.5%). Five unique metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) were recovered from the Anones 2005 sample that encoded genetic determinants implicated in biodegradation of contaminants, and we propose to name one of them as “Candidatus Biekeibacterium resiliens” gen. nov., sp. nov. within the Gammaproteobacteria class. Collectively, these results provide new insights into the natural attenuation of explosive contaminants by the benthic microbial communities of the Anones lagoon and provide a reference point for assessing other similarly impacted sites and associated bioremediation efforts.