Abundance and Community Structure of Bacteria on Asian Dust Particles Collected in Beijing, China, during the Asian Dust Season

Nobuyasu Yamaguchi, Takashi Baba, Tomoaki Ichijo, Yuka Himezawa, Kanami Enoki, Makoto Saraya, Pin-Fang Li, Masao Nasu
Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2016, 39 (1): 68-77
Approximately 180 t/km(2) of Asian dust particles are estimated to fall annually on Beijing, China, and there is significant concern about the influence of microbes transported by Asian dust events on human health and downwind ecosystems. In this study, we collected Asian dust particles in Beijing, and analyzed the bacterial communities on these particles by culture-independent methods. Bacterial cells on Asian dust particles were visualized first by laser scanning microscopy, which demonstrated that Asian dust particles carry bacterial cells to Beijing. Bacterial abundance, as determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), was 10(8) to 10(9) cells/g, a value about 10 times higher than that in Asian dust source soils. Inter-seasonal variability of bacterial community structures among Asian dust samples, as compared by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), was low during the Asian dust season. Several viable bacteria, including intestinal bacteria, were found in Asian dust samples by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Clone library analysis targeting 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences demonstrated that bacterial phylogenetic diversity was high in the dust samples, and most of these were environmental bacteria distributed in soil and air. The dominant species in the clone library was Segetibacter aerophilus (Bacteroidetes), which was first isolated from an Asian dust sample collected in Korea. Our results also indicate the possibility of a change in the bacterial community structure during transportation and increases in desiccation-tolerant bacteria such as Firmicutes.


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