11 Jul 2023
 | 11 Jul 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Characteristics of bacterial and fungal communities and their associations with sugar compounds in atmospheric aerosols at a rural site in North China

Mutong Niu, Shu Huang, Wei Hu, Yajie Wang, Wanyun Xu, Wan Wei, Qiang Zhang, Zihan Wang, Donghuan Zhang, Rui Jin, Libin Wu, Junjun Deng, Fangxia Shen, and Pingqing Fu

Abstract. Bioaerosols play significant roles in causing health and climate effects. Sugar compounds in air have been widely used to trace the source of bioaerosols. However, knowledge about the association of sugar molecules and the microbial community at taxonomic levels in atmospheric aerosols remains limited. Here, microbial community compositions and sugar molecules in total suspended particles collected from a typical rural site, Gucheng, in the North China Plain were investigated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-throughput gene sequencing, respectively. Results show that fungal community structure exhibited distinct diurnal variation with largely enhanced contribution of Basidiomycota at night, while bacterial community structure showed no obvious difference between daytime and night. SourceTracker analysis revealed that bacteria and fungi were mainly from plant leaves and unresolved sources (presumably human-related emission and/or long-distance transport), respectively. All the detected anhyrosugars and sugar alcohols, and trehalose showed diurnal variations with lower concentrations in the daytime and higher concentrations at night, which may be affected by enhanced fungal emissions at night, while primary sugars (except trehalose) showed an opposite trend. The Mantel test resulted that more sugar compounds exhibited significant associations with fungal community structure than bacterial community structure. Co-occurrence analysis revealed the strong associations between sugar compounds and a few saprophytic fungal genera with low relative abundances, e.g., Hannaella, Lectera, Peniophora, Hydnophlebia, Sporobolomyces and Cyphellophora. This study suggested that the entire fungal community likely greatly contributed to sugar compounds in rural aerosols, rather than specific fungal taxa, while the contribution of bacteria was limited.

Mutong Niu et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-93', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Aug 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Wei Hu, 30 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2023-93', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Aug 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Wei Hu, 30 Aug 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2023-93', Anonymous Referee #3, 17 Aug 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Wei Hu, 30 Aug 2023

Mutong Niu et al.

Mutong Niu et al.


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Short summary
Sugar compounds in air were widely used to trace biological aerosols. However, the range of microbial sources tracked by sugar compounds is vague. Our study analyzed microbial communities and sugar compounds at the molecular levels. Results found that a few saprophytic fungal taxa and no bacterial taxa were significantly related to certain sugar molecules. This study concluded that caution should also be exercised when using sugar compounds to trace microorganisms, especially bacteria.