Salonen IS, Chronopoulou P, Bird C, Reichart G & Koho KA (2019) Enrichment of intracellular sulphur cycle -associated bacteria in intertidal benthic foraminifera revealed by 16S and aprA gene analysis. Scientific Reports, 9, Art. No.: 11692. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48166-5
Benthic foraminifera are known to play an important role in marine carbon and nitrogen cycles. Here, we report an enrichment of sulphur cycle -associated bacteria inside intertidal benthic foraminifera (Ammonia sp. (T6), Haynesina sp. (S16) and Elphidium sp. (S5)), using a metabarcoding approach targeting the 16S rRNA and aprA -genes. The most abundant intracellular bacterial groups included the genus Sulfurovum and the order Desulfobacterales. The bacterial 16S OTUs are likely to originate from the sediment bacterial communities, as the taxa found inside the foraminifera were also present in the sediment. The fact that 16S rRNA and aprA –gene derived intracellular bacterial OTUs were species-specific and significantly different from the ambient sediment community implies that bacterivory is an unlikely scenario, as benthic foraminifera are
44 known to digest bacteria only randomly. Furthermore, these foraminiferal species are known to prefer other food sources than bacteria. The detection of sulphur-cycle related bacterial genes in this study suggests a putative role for these bacteria in the metabolism of the foraminiferal host. Future investigation into environmental conditions under which transcription of S-cycle genes are activated would enable assessment of their role and the potential foraminiferal/endobiont contribution to the sulphur-cycle.
Scientific Reports: Volume 9