• Hunting for microbes since 2003

  • We seek to understand

    the role of microorganisms in Earth's nutrient cycles

    and as symbionts of other organisms

  • Cycling of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur

    affect the health of our planet

  • The human microbiome -

    Our own social network of microbial friends

  • Ancient invaders -

    Bacterial symbionts of amoebae

    and the evolution of the intracellular lifestyle

  • Marine symbioses:

    Listening in on conversations

    between animals and the microbes they can't live without

  • Single cell techniques offer new insights

    into the ecology of microbes

  • Doctoral School in Microbiology and Environmental Sciences

  • PhD program in Microbial Symbioses

    A special FWF funded track in our doctoral school

Dome News

Latest publications

The maternal microbiome in pregnancy, delivery, and early-stage development of neonatal microbiome after cesarean section: A prospective longitudinal study

Introduction

Changes within the maternal microbiome during the last trimester of pregnancy and the determinants of the subsequent neonatal microbiome establishment after delivery by elective cesarean section are described.

Material and methods

Maternal vaginal and rectal microbiome samples were collected in the last trimester and before cesarean section; intrauterine cavity, placenta, neonatal buccal mucosa, skin, and meconium samples were obtained at birth; neonatal sample collection was repeated 2–3 days postnatally. Microbial community composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Relative abundance measurements of amplicon sequencing variants and sum counts at higher taxonomic levels were compared to test for significant overlap or differences in microbial community compositions. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT04489056.

Results

A total of 30 mothers and their neonates were included with available microbiome samples for all maternal, intrauterine cavity and placenta samples, as well as for 18 of 30 neonates. The composition of maternal vaginal and rectal microbiomes during the last trimester of healthy pregnancies did not significantly change (permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA], p > 0.05). No robust microbial signature was detected in the intrauterine cavity, placenta, neonatal buccal mucosa, skin swabs, or meconium samples collected at birth. After birth, the neonatal microbiome was rapidly established, and significantly different microbial communities were detectable 2–3 days postnatally in neonate buccal mucosa and stool samples (PERMANOVA, p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Maternal vaginal and rectal microbiomes in healthy pregnancies remain stable during the third trimester. No microbial colonization of the neonate was observed before birth in healthy pregnancies. Neonatal microbiomes in infants delivered by cesarean section displayed a taxonomic composition distinct from maternal vaginal and rectal microbiomes at birth, indicating that postnatal exposure to the extrauterine environment is the driving source of initial neonatal microbiome development in this cohort.

Foessleitner P, Pjevac P, Granser S, Wisgrill L, Pummer L, Eckel F, Seki D, Berry D, Hausmann B, Farr A
2024 - AOGS, in press

Global abundance patterns, diversity, and ecology of Patescibacteria in wastewater treatment plants

Background

Microorganisms are responsible for nutrient removal and resource recovery in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), and their diversity is often studied by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. However, this approach underestimates the abundance and diversity of Patescibacteria due to the low coverage of commonly used PCR primers for this highly divergent bacterial phylum. Therefore, our current understanding of the global diversity, distribution, and ecological role of Patescibacteria in WWTPs is very incomplete. This is particularly relevant as Patescibacteria are considered to be associated with microbial host cells and can therefore influence the abundance and temporal variability of other microbial groups that are important for WWTP functioning.

Results

Here, we evaluated the in silico coverage of widely used 16S rRNA gene-targeted primer pairs and redesigned a primer pair targeting the V4 region of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes to expand its coverage for Patescibacteria. We then experimentally evaluated and compared the performance of the original and modified V4-targeted primers on 565 WWTP samples from the MiDAS global sample collection. Using the modified primer pair, the percentage of ASVs classified as Patescibacteria increased from 5.9% to 23.8%, and the number of detected patescibacterial genera increased from 560 to 1,576, while the detected diversity of the remaining microbial community remained similar. Due to this significantly improved coverage of Patescibacteria, we identified 23 core genera of Patescibacteria in WWTPs and described the global distribution pattern of these unusual microbes in these systems. Finally, correlation network analysis revealed potential host organisms that might be associated with Patescibacteria in WWTPs. Interestingly, strong indications were found for an association between Patescibacteria of the Saccharimonadia and globally abundant polyphosphate-accumulating organisms of the genus Ca. Phosporibacter.

Conclusions

Our study (i) provides an improved 16S rRNA gene V4 region-targeted amplicon primer pair inclusive of Patescibacteria with little impact on the detection of other taxa, (ii) reveals the diversity and distribution patterns of Patescibacteria in WWTPs on a global scale, and (iii) provides new insights into the ecological role and potential hosts of Patescibacteria in WWTPs.

 

Hu H, Kristensen JM, Herbold CW, Pjevac P, Kitzinger K, Hausmann B, Dueholm MKD, Nielsen PH, Wagner M
2024 - Microbiome, in press

Biomonitoring of Dietary Mycotoxin Exposure and Associated Impact on the Gut Microbiome in Nigerian Infants

Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health. Here, we assessed the influence of mycotoxin exposure on the longitudinal development of early life intestinal microbiota of Nigerian neonates and infants (NIs). Human biomonitoring assays based on liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry were applied to quantify mycotoxins in breast milk (n = 68) consumed by the NIs, their stool (n = 82), and urine samples (n = 15), which were collected longitudinally from month 1–18 postdelivery. Microbial community composition was characterized by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of stool samples and was correlated to mycotoxin exposure patterns. Fumonisin B1 (FB1), FB2, and alternariol monomethyl ether (AME) were frequently quantified in stool samples between months 6 and 18. Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), AME, and citrinin were quantified in breast milk samples at low concentrations. AFM1, FB1, and ochratoxin A were quantified in urine samples at relatively high concentrations. Klebsiella and Escherichia/Shigella were dominant in very early life stool samples (month 1), whereas Bifidobacterium was dominant between months 3 and 6. The total mycotoxin levels in stool were significantly associated with NIs’ gut microbiome composition (PERMANOVA, p < 0.05). However, no significant correlation was observed between specific microbiota and the detection of certain mycotoxins. Albeit a small cohort, this study demonstrates that mycotoxins may influence early life gut microbiome composition.

Ayeni KI, Seki D, Pjevac P, Hausmann B, Krausová M, Braun D, Wisgrill L, Berry D, Warth B, Ezekiel CN
2024 - Environmental Science & Technology, in press

Lecture series

CANCELLED!! DOME Lecture: "Iron-sulfur proteins in microbial sulfur oxidation"

Christiane Dahl
Research Group Leader, University of Bonn, Germany
15.02.2024
12:00 h
NA

CANCELLED!! DOME Lecture: "Phage communication: from mechanisms to ecology and evolution"

Avigdor Eldar
Associate Professor, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
07.12.2023
12:00 h
NA

CANCELLED!! DOME Lecture: "Genomes in Rhodnius prolixus symbiotic system"

Eva Nováková
Associate Professor, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic
09.11.2023
12:00 h
NA