Microbial community evolution is significantly impacted by the use of calcium isosaccharinic acid as an analogue for the products of alkaline cellulose degradation

Isaac A. Kyeremeh, Christopher J. Charles, Simon P. Rout, Andrew P. Laws, Paul N. Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Diasteriomeric isosaccharinic acid (ISA) is an important consideration within safety assessments for the disposal of the United Kingdoms' nuclear waste legacy, where it may potentially influence radionuclide migration. Since the intrusion of micro-organisms may occur within a disposal concept, the impact of ISA may be impacted by microbial metabolism. Within the present study we have established two polymicrobial consortia derived from a hyperalkaline soil. Here, α-ISA and a diatereomeric mix of ISAs' were used as a sole carbon source, reflecting two common substrates appearing within the literature. The metabolism of ISA within these two consortia was similar, where ISA degradation resulted in the acetogenesis and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. The chemical data obtained confirm that the diastereomeric nature of ISA is likely to have no impact on its metabolism within alkaline environments. High throughput sequencing of the original soil showed a diverse community which, in the presence of ISA allowed for the dominance the Clostridiales associated taxa with Clostridium clariflavum prevalent. Further taxonomic investigation at the genus level showed that there was in fact a significant difference (p = 0.004) between the two community profiles. Our study demonstrates that the selection of carbon substrate is likely to have a significant impact on microbial community composition estimations, which may have implications with respect to a safety assessment of an ILW-GDF.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165832
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2016


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