Adaptation of Carbon Source Utilization Patterns of Geobacter metallireducens During Sessile Growth

Sviatlana Marozava, Juliane Merl-Pham, Hubert Müller, Rainer U. Meckenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There are two main strategies known how microorganisms regulate substrate utilization: specialization on one preferred substrate at high concentrations in batch cultures or simultaneous utilization of many substrates at low concentrations in chemostats. However, it remains unclear how microorganisms utilize substrates at low concentrations in the subsurface: do they focus on a single substrate and exhibit catabolite repression or do they de-repress regulation of all catabolic pathways? Here, we investigated the readiness of Geobacter metallireducens to degrade organic substrates under sessile growth in sediment columns in the presence of a mixed community as a model for aquifers. Three parallel columns were filled with sand and flushed with anoxic medium at a constant inflow (18 ml h−1) of the substrate benzoate (1 mM) with non-limiting nitrate concentrations (30 mM) as electron acceptor. Columns were inoculated with the anaerobic benzoate degrader G. metallireducens. Microbial degradation produced concentration gradients of benzoate toward the column outlet. Metagenomics and label-free metaproteomics were used to detect and quantify the protein expression of G. metallireducens. Bulk benzoate concentrations below 0.2 mM led to increased abundance of catabolic proteins involved in utilization of fermentation products and aromatic compounds including the complete upregulation of the toluene-degrading pathway although toluene was not added to the medium. We propose that under sessile conditions and low substrate concentrations G. metallireducens expresses a specific set of catabolic pathways for preferred substrates, even when these substrates are not present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1271
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 23 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Geobacter metallireducens
  • carbon limitation
  • label-free proteomics
  • microbial physiology
  • sediment columns
  • sessile growth


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptation of Carbon Source Utilization Patterns of Geobacter metallireducens During Sessile Growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this