Event Title

Functional Metabolic Profiling of Microbial Communities Hosted by Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

Mentor 1

Erica Young

Mentor 2

Andrew Fuchs

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

The carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea hosts microbial communities that break down captured insect prey to supplement nutrient requirements. The microbiome housed by the plant is critical for release of vital nutrients from prey and supports a food web of invertebrates and microbial community. Microbial community functions can be quantified as hydrolytic enzyme activity which mediates biochemical breakdown of compounds found in prey, like protein and chitin. EcoPlates (Biolog Inc.) are microwell plates typically used in metabolic profiling of microbiomes found in wastewaters and natural freshwaters, measuring microbial community capacity to use different organic substrates. Our novel application of this plate method focuses on the profiling of communities inside the pitcher plants using samples taken from the field and maintained in the UW-Milwaukee greenhouse. Initial findings suggest multiple differences in substrate use between microbial communities found in different pitchers. Further experimentation on the pitchers with prey types of different biochemical composition will be conducted to compare regulation of microbial breakdown processes, both with chitinase and protease enzyme assays and EcoPlate metabolic profiling. The results will provide critical information about prey breakdown in the pitcher communities, and the microecosystems hosted by these plants represent models for investigating responses of microbial activity in aquatic communities.

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Apr 16th, 12:00 AM

Functional Metabolic Profiling of Microbial Communities Hosted by Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

The carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea hosts microbial communities that break down captured insect prey to supplement nutrient requirements. The microbiome housed by the plant is critical for release of vital nutrients from prey and supports a food web of invertebrates and microbial community. Microbial community functions can be quantified as hydrolytic enzyme activity which mediates biochemical breakdown of compounds found in prey, like protein and chitin. EcoPlates (Biolog Inc.) are microwell plates typically used in metabolic profiling of microbiomes found in wastewaters and natural freshwaters, measuring microbial community capacity to use different organic substrates. Our novel application of this plate method focuses on the profiling of communities inside the pitcher plants using samples taken from the field and maintained in the UW-Milwaukee greenhouse. Initial findings suggest multiple differences in substrate use between microbial communities found in different pitchers. Further experimentation on the pitchers with prey types of different biochemical composition will be conducted to compare regulation of microbial breakdown processes, both with chitinase and protease enzyme assays and EcoPlate metabolic profiling. The results will provide critical information about prey breakdown in the pitcher communities, and the microecosystems hosted by these plants represent models for investigating responses of microbial activity in aquatic communities.