Deciphering the Microbial Taxonomy and Functionality of Two Diverse Mangrove Ecosystems and Their Potential Abilities To Produce Bioactive Compounds

Shuilin Liao, Yayu Wang, Huan Liu, Guangyi Fan, Sunil Kumar Sahu, Tao Jin, Jianwei Chen, Pengfan Zhang, Lone Gram, Mikael Lenz Strube, Qiong Shi, Simon Ming Yuen Lee, Xin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Mangroves, as important and special ecosystems, create unique ecological environments for examining the microbial gene capacity and potential for producing bioactive compounds. However, little is known about the biogeochemical implications of microbiomes in mangrove ecosystems, especially the variations between pristine and anthropogenic mangroves. To elucidate this, we investigated the microbial taxonomic and functional shifts of the mangrove microbiomes and their potential for bioactive compounds in two different coastal mangrove ecosystems in southern China. A gene catalogue, including 87 million unique genes, was constructed, based on deep shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Differentially enriched bacterial and archaeal taxa between pristine mangroves (Guangxi) and anthropogenic mangroves (Shenzhen) were found. The Nitrospira and ammonia-oxidizing archaea, specifically, were more abundant in Shenzhen mangroves, while sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens were more abundant in Guangxi mangroves. The results of functional analysis were consistent with the taxonomic results, indicating that the Shenzhen mangrove microbiome has a higher abundance of genes involved in nitrogen metabolism while the Guangxi mangrove microbiome has a higher capacity for sulfur metabolism and methanogenesis. Biosynthetic gene clusters were identified in the metagenome data and in hundreds of de novo reconstructed nonredundant microbial genomes, respectively. Notably, we found different biosynthetic potential in different taxa, and we identified three high quality and novel Acidobacteria genomes with a large number of BGCs. In total, 67,278 unique genes were annotated with antibiotic resistance, indicating the prevalence and persistence in multidrug-resistant genes in the mangrove microbiome.

This study comprehensively described the taxonomy and functionality of mangrove microbiomes, including their capacity for secondary metabolite biosynthesis and their ability to resist antibiotics. The microbial taxonomic and functional characteristics differed between geographical locations, corresponding to the environmental condition of two diverse mangrove regions. A large number of microbial biosynthetic gene clusters encoding novel bioactivities were found, and this can serve as a valuable resource to guide novel bioactive compound discovery for potential clinical uses.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00851-19
Issue number5
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • metagenomics
  • Rhizosphere
  • Biosynthesis gene clusters
  • Antibiotic resistance genes
  • Mangroves


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