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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 196409, 21 pages
Research Article

Application of Universal Stress Proteins in Probing the Dynamics of Potent Degraders in Complex Terephthalate Metagenome

Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Department of Biology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217, USA

Received 20 April 2013; Accepted 11 July 2013

Academic Editor: Hongjuan Liu

Copyright © 2013 Andreas N. Mbah and Raphael D. Isokpehi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The culture-independent strategies to study microbial diversity and function have led to a revolution in environmental genomics, enabling fundamental questions about the distribution of microbes and their influence on bioremediation to be addressed. In this research we used the expression of universal stress proteins as a probe to determine the changes in degrading microbial population from a highly toxic terephthalate wastewater to a less toxic activated sludge bioreactor. The impact of relative toxicities was significantly elaborated at the levels of genus and species. The results indicated that 23 similar prokaryotic phyla were represented in both metagenomes irrespective of their relative abundance. Furthermore, the following bacteria taxa Micromonosporaceae, Streptomyces, Cyanothece sp. PCC 7822, Alicyclobacillus acidocaldarius, Bacillus halodurans, Leuconostoc mesenteroides, Lactococcus garvieae, Brucellaceae, Ralstonia solanacearum, Verminephrobacter eiseniae, Azoarcus, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Francisella tularensis, Methanothermus fervidus, and Methanocorpusculum labreanum were represented only in the activated sludge bioreactor. These highly dynamic microbes could serve as taxonomic biomarkers for toxic thresholds related to terephthalate and its derivatives. This paper, highlights the application of universal stress proteins in metagenomics analysis. Dynamics of microbial consortium of this nature can have future in biotechnological applications in bioremediation of toxic chemicals and radionuclides.