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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-236
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-236
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Jul 2020

20 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Microbial functional signature in the atmospheric boundary layer

Romie Tignat-Perrier1,2, Aurélien Dommergue1, Alban Thollot1, Olivier Magand1, Timothy M. Vogel2, and Catherine Larose2 Romie Tignat-Perrier et al.
  • 1Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, Grenoble, France
  • 2Environmental Microbial Genomics, Laboratoire Ampère, École Centrale de Lyon, Université de Lyon, Écully, France

Abstract. Microorganisms are ubiquitous in the atmosphere and some airborne microbial cells were shown to be particularly resistant to atmospheric physical and chemical conditions (e.g., UV radiation, desiccation, presence of radicals). In addition to surviving, some cultivable microorganisms of airborne origin were shown to be able to grow on atmospheric chemicals in laboratory experiments. Metagenomic investigations have been used to identify specific signatures of microbial functional potential in different ecosystems. We conducted a preliminary comparative metagenomic study on the overall microbial functional potential and specific metabolic and stress-related microbial functions of atmospheric microorganisms in order to determine whether airborne microbial communities possess an atmosphere-specific functional potential signature as compared to other ecosystems (i.e. soil, sediment, snow, feces, surface seawater etc.). In absence of a specific atmospheric signature, the atmospheric samples collected at nine sites around the world were similar to their underlying ecosystems. In addition, atmospheric samples were characterized by a relatively high proportion of fungi. The higher proportion of sequences annotated as genes involved in stress-related functions (i.e. functions related to the response to desiccation, UV radiation, oxidative stress etc.) resulted in part from the high concentrations of fungi that might resist and survive atmospheric physical stress better than bacteria.

Romie Tignat-Perrier et al.

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Romie Tignat-Perrier et al.

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Latest update: 05 Aug 2020
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Short summary
The adverse atmospheric environmental conditions do not appear suited for microbial life. We conducted the first global comparative metagenomic analysis to find out if airborne microbial communities might be selected by their ability to resist these adverse conditions. The relatively higher concentration of fungi led to the observation of higher proportions of stress-related functions in air. Fungi might likely resist and survive atmospheric physical stress better than bacteria.
The adverse atmospheric environmental conditions do not appear suited for microbial life. We...
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