|NADEEM, MUHAMMAD - Memorial University Of Newfounland
|CHEEMA, MUMTAZ - Memorial University Of Newfounland
Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2022
Publication Date: 5/16/2022
Citation: Yurgel, S., Nadeem, M., Cheema, M. 2022. Microbial consortium associated with crustacean shells composting. Microorganisms. 10(5). Article 1033. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10051033.
Interpretive Summary: Globally, around 600,000 tons of chitin waste are generated by seafood industry annually, which brings substantial challenges for this waste disposal. The disposal of one ton of shellfish waste can cost up to $150. However, the reuse of waste from the industry is not a common practice and a significant proportion of crustacean waste is deposited into the environment, generating potential environmental hazard. On the other hand, crustacean shells contain chitin and other components that are valuable resources for pharmaceutical, agricultural, construction and paper industries. Industrial chitin extraction has several limitations, including high energy requirement and involvement of large amounts of sodium hydroxide and acidic treatments. The biological extraction of chitin is an attractive process, which can provide a solution for decreasing production and environmental costs. In this study we investigated fungal and bacterial communities in green crab shells after one year of composting. We found that that the microbial community associated with green crab shell matter undergoes significant changes, which were reflected in increased populations of microorganisms that were previously reported to be involved in chitin degradation as well as others that did not degrade chitin. Our study indicates that biodegradation of crab shells in soils involves a consortium of microorganisms that might provide a more efficient way for the biological extraction of chitin.
Technical Abstract: Soil microbes play essential roles in the biodegradation of crustacean shells to chitin derivatives with plant growth promoting properties. While a number of microorganisms with chitinolytic properties have been characterized, little is known about microbial taxa that participate in this process either by active chitin degradation or by facilitating this activity through nutritional cooperation and composting with chitinolytic microorganisms. In this study we evaluated the transformation of soil microbiomes triggered by close proximity to surfaces of green crab shells. Our results indicate that the microbial community associated with green crab shell matter undergoes significant specialized changes, which were reflected in decreased fungal and bacterial Shannon diversity and evenness, along with a dramatic alteration of the community composition. The relative abundance of several bacterial and fungal genera including bacteria Flavobacterium, Clostridium, Pseudomonas, and Sanguibacter, and fungi Mortierella, Mycochlamys, and Talaromyces were increased with greater proximity to shell surface. Association with shell surfaces triggered significant changes in microbial cooperation, which incorporate microorganisms previously reported to be involved in chitin degradation as well as others with no reported chitinolytic activity. Our study indicates that biodegradation of crab shells in soils involves a consortium of microorganisms that might provide a more efficient way for the bioconversion of crustacean shells to chitin derivitatives.