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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015, Article ID 902121, 11 pages
Research Article

Unexpected Diversity of Magnetococci in Intertidal Sediments of Xiaoshi Island in the North Yellow Sea

1Deep-Sea Microbial Cell Biology, Department of Deep Sea Science, Sanya Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 62 Fenghuang Road, Sanya 572000, China
2College of Marine Science, Shandong University at Weihai, Weihai 264209, China
3Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
4State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China

Received 24 July 2015; Revised 22 September 2015; Accepted 27 September 2015

Academic Editor: Masayuki Nogami

Copyright © 2015 Haitao Chen et al. 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.


Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are a group of prokaryotes that, despite their high morphological, phylogenetic, and ecological diversity, share a common capability of forming intracellular nanocrystals of magnetite (Fe3O4) or greigite (Fe3S4), called magnetosomes, and swimming along geomagnetic field lines in a process called magnetotaxis. In this study, we investigated the MTB diversity within the intertidal sediments near Xiaoshi Island (Weihai) in the North Yellow Sea using a combination of molecular ecology techniques and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The combination of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed seven new MTB genera affiliated with the Alphaproteobacteria class. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses suggested that one magnetotactic coccus (designated as WHI-2) is the dominant species. TEM observations and energy dispersive X-ray analyses revealed that MTB cells mainly form magnetite magnetosomes that are organized into two chains of magnetosomes composed of e-prismatic magnetite crystals. This finding suggests the adaptation of a magnetotactic bacterial population to the marine tide. This is the first report of magnetotactic bacteria near Xiaoshi Island, which should be useful for studies of biogeochemical cycling and the geohistory of this area.