Montana State University

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Thermal Biology Insitute Seminar Series

Monday, April 21, 2014 from 3:10pm to 4:00pm
Plant Biosciences Building, 108

Please join us for TBI seminar on Monday, Apirl 21. Dr. Trent Northen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab will present, Deconstructing carbon cycling in soil, at 3:10pm in Plant Bioscience Building room 108.

Abstract: Dissolved organic matter (DOC) is a key determinants of global biogeochemical cycles of carbon, however, the mineralization of these components by specific soil bacteria are poorly understood. To address this need we are developing metabolomic methods to characterize soil and sediment metabolites using untargeted mass spectrometry. We then investigated the targeting of DOC components by soil bacteria. These analyses revealed hundreds of metabolites from soils and identified a set of metabolites, including disaccharides, that were uptaken by essentially all studied isolates suggesting a potential competition for these compounds in the soil. Beyond these few metabolites, the individual heterotrophs showed specialization towards specific metabolites. Surprisingly, many of the most abundant oligosaccharides and other metabolites were ignored by these isolates. This observation that soil heterotrophs target specific DOC components is counter to conventional thinking of soil heterotrophs as 'generalists'. Rather it may be that heterotrophs are highly specialized for specific metabolites and DOC composition may play a significant role in determining community structure. Therefore, the observed complexity of soil DOC composition may explain some portion of the tremendous diversity of soil microbes.

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Thermal Biology Institute