Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Knowledge of Student Teachers on Sustainable Land Use Issues–Knowledge Types Relevant for Teacher Education 

    Richter-Beuschel, Lisa; Bögeholz, Susanne
    Sustainability 2020; 12(20) p.1-20: Art. 8332
    For restructuring educational processes and institutions toward Sustainable Development, teachers’ knowledge and competences are crucial. Due to the high relevance of teachers’ content knowledge, this study aimed to (i) assess Sustainable Development-relevant knowledge by differentiating between situational, conceptual and procedural knowledge, (ii) find out via item response theory modelling how these theoretically distinguished knowledge types can be empirically supported, and (iii) link the knowledge dimension(s) to related constructs. We developed a paper-and-pencil test to assess these three knowledge types (N = 314). A two-dimensional structure that combines situational and conceptual knowledge and that distinguishes situational/conceptual knowledge from procedural knowledge, fits the data best (EAP/PV situational/conceptual: 0.63; EAP/PV procedural: 0.67). Student teachers at master level outperformed bachelor level students in situational/conceptual knowledge but master level students did not differ from students at bachelor level regarding procedural knowledge. We observed only slight correlations between the two knowledge dimensions and the content-related motivational orientations of professional action competence. Student teachers’ deficits in procedural knowledge can be attributed to the small number of Education for Sustainable Development-relevant courses attended. Systematically fostering procedural knowledge in teacher education could promote achieving cognitive learning objectives associated with Sustainable Development Goals in the long term.
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  • Journal Article

    Arguments for Construct Validity of the Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Interdisciplinary Science Teaching (SElf-ST) Instrument 

    Handtke, Kevin
    European Journal of Educational Research 2020; 9(4) p.1435-1453
    Current research on self-efficacy beliefs of interdisciplinary science teaching indicates shortcomings in facing recent teaching challenges in secondary education and corresponding valid instruments. Thus, we designed the Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Interdisciplinary Science Teaching (SElf-ST) instrument based on a pedagogical content knowledge model for science teaching. We ensured the factorial validity of ten factors. To bring construct validity down to a round figure, we examined convergent and divergent validity in this paper. For answering the overall research question regarding arguments for the convergent and divergent validity of the interpretation of the SElf-ST instrument’s test values (and related hypotheses), we analyzed data of pre-service, trainee, and in-service biology, chemistry, and physics teachers (n = 590) in a cross-sectional study. While the strong latent correlations of the ten SElf-ST factors with self-efficacy beliefs of interdisciplinary science teaching in primary education (r = 0.40 – 0.63, p < 0.01) indicate convergent validity, the rather weak correlations with self-efficacy beliefs of general teaching (r = 0.17 – 0.54, p < 0.01), self-rated content knowledge in science (r = 0.13 – 0.40, p < 0.01), and perceived stress (r = -0.13 – -0.19, p < 0.01) support different divergent validity intensities. Thus, assumed relations within the nomological net surrounding the self-efficacy beliefs of interdisciplinary science teaching construct were confirmed for secondary education. In sum, we shed light on a rarely explored aspect of construct validity in science education research regarding self-efficacy beliefs. Doing so, we gained strong arguments that the SElf-ST instrument’s test values can serve as indicators of self-efficacy beliefs of interdisciplinary science teaching in secondary education.
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  • Journal Article

    Phenotypic Responses, Reproduction Mode and Epigenetic Patterns under Temperature Treatments in the Alpine Plant Species Ranunculus kuepferi (Ranunculaceae) 

    Syngelaki, Eleni; Daubert, Mareike; Klatt, Simone; Hörandl, Elvira
    Biology 2020; 9(10) p.1-20: Art. 315
    Plant life in alpine habitats is shaped by harsh abiotic conditions and cold climates. Phenotypic variation of morphological characters and reproduction can be influenced by temperature stress. Nevertheless, little is known about the performance of different cytotypes under cold stress and how epigenetic patterns could relate to phenotypic variation. Ranunculus kuepferi, a perennial alpine plant, served as a model system for testing the effect of cold stress on phenotypic plasticity, reproduction mode, and epigenetic variation. Diploid and autotetraploid individuals were placed in climate growth cabinets under warm and cold conditions. Morphological traits (height, leaves and flowers) and the proportion of well-developed seeds were measured as fitness indicators, while flow cytometric seed screening (FCSS) was utilized to determine the reproduction mode. Subsequently, comparisons with patterns of methylation-sensitive amplified fragment-length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were conducted. Diploids grew better under warm conditions, while tetraploids performed better in cold treatments. Epigenetic patterns were correlated with the expressed morphological traits. Cold stress reduced the reproduction fitness but did not induce apomixis in diploids. Overall, our study underlines the potential of phenotypic plasticity for acclimation under environmental conditions and confirms the different niche preferences of cytotypes in natural populations. Results help to understand the pattern of geographical parthenogenesis in the species.
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  • Journal Article

    Metagenome-Assembled Genome Sequences from an Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Consortium Involved in Sulfur Cycling 

    Winkler, Lucia; Münker, Marc F.; Brunotte, Susanne; Rohlmann, Lina; Diez Alfageme, Alvaro; Poehlein, Anja; Hoppert, Michael; Reitner, Joachim; Nacke, Heiko
    Microbiology Resource Announcements 2020; 9(40) p.1-3: Art. e00819-20
    We sequenced the metagenome of an anoxygenic photosynthetic consortium originating from pond water and reconstructed four metagenome-assembled genomes. These genomes include Desulfocapsa, Paludibacter, Lamprocystis, and Rhodocyclaceae representatives and indicate the presence of genes for dissimilatory sulfate reduction and oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds.
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  • Journal Article

    Can We Use Gene-Editing to Induce Apomixis in Sexual Plants? 

    Scheben, Armin; Hojsgaard, Diego
    Genes 2020; 11(7) p.1-28: Art. 781
    Apomixis, the asexual formation of seeds, is a potentially valuable agricultural trait. Inducing apomixis in sexual crop plants would, for example, allow breeders to fix heterosis in hybrid seeds and rapidly generate doubled haploid crop lines. Molecular models explain the emergence of functional apomixis, i.e., apomeiosis + parthenogenesis + endosperm development, as resulting from a combination of genetic or epigenetic changes that coordinate altered molecular and developmental steps to form clonal seeds. Apomixis-like features and synthetic clonal seeds have been induced with limited success in the sexual plants rice and maize by using gene editing to mutate genes related to meiosis and fertility or via egg-cell specific expression of embryogenesis genes. Inducing functional apomixis and increasing the penetrance of apomictic seed production will be important for commercial deployment of the trait. Optimizing the induction of apomixis with gene editing strategies that use known targets as well as identifying alternative targets will be possible by better understanding natural genetic variation in apomictic species. With the growing availability of genomic data and precise gene editing tools, we are making substantial progress towards engineering apomictic crops.
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  • Journal Article

    A comparison of common metrics used to quantify the effectiveness of conservation interventions 

    Khorozyan, Igor
    PeerJ 2020; 8 p.1-15: Art. e9873
    Background: Evidence-based conservation is urgently needed to identify, apply and promote effective interventions for mitigation of threats and recovery of the natural environment. Estimation of intervention effectiveness is subject to robust study design and statistical analysis, and much progress is documented in these fields. In contrast, little is understood about the accuracy and biases (underestimation and overestimation) of different effectiveness metrics and how they are affected by sample size. Methods: In this study, a dataset (n = 500 cases) consisting of random, positive, integer numbers was simulated to produce frequency input data for the 2 × 2 contingency table. For each case, three metrics of the relative risk, odds ratio and the magnitude of change were calculated, their disparity was estimated and the characteristics of treatment (with intervention) and control (without intervention) samples significantly affecting this disparity were studied by means of linear regression. Further, four case studies from different conservation interventions are provided to support the results. Results: The study has shown that the relative risk and the magnitude of change produce identical estimates of intervention effectiveness only when treatment and control samples are equal, or when the number of target outcomes (e.g., number of livestock killed by predators) in treatment sample reaches zero. In other situations, the magnitude of change gives overestimates or underestimates, depending on relationships between treatment and control sample sizes. The table summarizing the conditions of equalities and biases between these two metrics is provided. These conditions are valid for both reduction-aimed interventions reducing negative target outcomes (e.g., livestock protection to reduce livestock losses to predators) and for addition-aimed interventions increasing positive target outcomes (e.g., establishment of protected areas to increase species presence). No significant effects on the odds ratio were found. Conclusion: Researchers should set equal treatment and control sample sizes so that to produce identical estimates of intervention effectiveness by the relative risk and the magnitude of change. Otherwise, these estimates are biased if produced by the magnitude of change and the relative risk should be used instead. As setting equal treatment and control samples can be impractical, I encourage researchers and practitioners to use the relative risk in estimation of intervention effectiveness. This will not take additional efforts as both metrics are calculated from the same contingency table. Treatment and control sample sizes, along with their sub-samples affected and not by an intervention, should be explicitly reported by researchers to allow independent evaluation of intervention effectiveness. This approach can help obtain more accurate information on intervention effectiveness for making better decisions in conservation actions.
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  • Journal Article

    Do infants and preschoolers quantify probabilities based on proportions? 

    Placì, Sarah; Fischer, Julia; Rakoczy, Hannes
    Royal Society Open Science 2020; 7(9) p.1-8: Art. 191751
    Most statistical problems encountered throughout life require the ability to quantify probabilities based on proportions. Recent findings on the early ontogeny of this ability have been mixed: For example, when presented with jars containing preferred and less preferred items, 12-month-olds, but not 3- and 4-years-olds, seem to rely on the proportions of objects in the jars to predict the content of samples randomly drawn out of them. Given these contrasting findings, it remains unclear what the probabilistic reasoning abilities of young children are and how they develop. In our study, we addressed this question and tested, with identical methods across age groups and similar methods to previous studies, whether 12-month-olds and 3- and 4-years-olds rely on proportions of objects to estimate probabilities of random sampling events. Results revealed that neither infants nor preschoolers do. While preschoolers' performance is in line with previous findings, infants' performance is difficult to interpret given their failure in a control condition in which the outcomes happened with certainty rather than a graded probability. More systematic studies are needed to explain why infants succeeded in a previous study but failed in our study.
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  • Journal Article

    The development of early pioneer neurons in the annelid Malacoceros fuliginosus 

    Kumar, Suman; Tumu, Sharat C; Helm, Conrad; Hausen, Harald
    BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2020 Sep 14;20(1):117
    Abstract Background Nervous system development is an interplay of many processes: the formation of individual neurons, which depends on whole-body and local patterning processes, and the coordinated growth of neurites and synapse formation. While knowledge of neural patterning in several animal groups is increasing, data on pioneer neurons that create the early axonal scaffold are scarce. Here we studied the first steps of nervous system development in the annelid Malacoceros fuliginosus. Results We performed a dense expression profiling of a broad set of neural genes. We found that SoxB expression begins at 4 h postfertilization, and shortly later, the neuronal progenitors can be identified at the anterior and the posterior pole by the transient and dynamic expression of proneural genes. At 9 hpf, the first neuronal cells start differentiating, and we provide a detailed description of axonal outgrowth of the pioneer neurons that create the primary neuronal scaffold. Tracing back the clonal origin of the ventral nerve cord pioneer neuron revealed that it is a descendant of the blastomere 2d (2d221), which after 7 cleavages starts expressing Neurogenin, Acheate-Scute and NeuroD. Conclusions We propose that an anterior and posterior origin of the nervous system is ancestral in annelids. We suggest that closer examination of the first pioneer neurons will be valuable in better understanding of nervous system development in spirally cleaving animals, to determine the potential role of cell-intrinsic properties in neuronal specification and to resolve the evolution of nervous systems.
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  • Journal Article

    Studded leather collars are very effective in protecting cattle from leopard (Panthera pardus) attacks 

    Khorozyan, Igor; Ghoddousi, Siavash; Soufi, Mobin; Soofi, Mahmood; Waltert, Matthias
    Ecological Solutions and Evidence 2020; 1(1) p.1-9: Art. e12013
    1. Human‐wildlife conflicts are widespread, particularly with big cats which can kill domestic livestock and create a counteraction between conservation and local livelihoods, especially near protected areas. Minimisation of livestock losses caused by big cats and other predators is essential to mitigate conflicts and promote socially acceptable conservation. As big cats usually kill by throat bites, protective collars represent a potentially effective non‐lethal intervention to prevent livestock depredation, yet the application and effectiveness estimation of these tools are very limited. 2. In this study, for the first time we measured the effectiveness of studded leather collars in protecting cattle from leopard (Panthera pardus) attacks. We conducted a randomised controlled experiment during 14 months to collar 202 heads and leave uncollared 258 heads grazing in forests and belonging to 27 owners from eight villages near three protected areas in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran. 3. Our results show that none of collared cattle and nine uncollared cattle were lost to leopard depredation, meaning that collars caused a zero relative risk of damage and a perfect 100% damage reduction. Most losses occurred in summer and autumn due to lush vegetation attracting more cattle, long daytime allowing movements deep into leopard habitats and dense cover favouring leopard hunts from ambush. Losses were recorded in only six owners and four villages, suggesting local rarity and patchy distribution of leopards. 4. We suggest that collars can be successfully applied to cattle freely grazing in habitats of leopards or other felids for a long time and thus remaining persistently exposed to depredation. As grazing cattle are usually not supervised by shepherds or dogs, collars can be the only practical protection tool. Production and sales of collars can become a sustainable small‐scale business for farmers to further boost conservation and rural livelihoods.
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  • Journal Article

    On the Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood growing in the Illyrian region 

    Tomasello, Salvatore; Konowalik, Kamil; Tomasello, Salvatore; Konowalik, Kamil; Tomasello, Salvatore; Konowalik, Kamil; Tomasello, Salvatore; Konowalik, Kamil; Tomasello, Salvatore; Konowalik, Kamil
    PhytoKeys 2020; 161 p.27-40
    Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood (Asteraceae, Anthemideae) is a small, caespitose plant growing in high alpine environments in all the main southern European mountain ranges. However, the species status in the Balkan Peninsula (and especially in the Dinaric Alps) is not very well known. Surrounding this area, different L. alpina subspecies are found in the Eastern Alps and in the Carpathians. These subspecies differ from one another, both morphologically and in chromosome number. The present study aims to better characterise the populations of L. alpina in the Illyrian and Balkan regions by undertaking a comprehensive survey of herbarium collections for the species in this area, by applying flow cytometry for ploidy determination and by sequencing of two chloroplast markers. Results from our investigation suggest that the only population of the species in the Dinaric Alps is found in the Vranica Mts (Bosnia and Herzegovina). This population consists of diploid plants (unlike tetraploid populations from the Eastern Alps) that are slightly distinct genetically from those of the subspecies growing in the Eastern Alps and the Tatra Mts. Both the ploidy and their genetic distinction indicate that Vranica Mts most probably served as a refugium for the species during the Pleistocene glaciations. Considering its isolated geographical range and its genetic distinction, the population of L. alpina growing in the Vranica Mts should be considered as a separate subspecies.
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  • Journal Article

    Quantitative Modelling and Perspective Taking: Two Competencies of Decision Making for Sustainable Development 

    Böhm, Marko; Barkmann, Jan; Eggert, Sabina; Carstensen, Claus H.; Bögeholz, Susanne
    Sustainability 2020; 12(17) p.1-32: Art. 6980
    Land use change, natural resource use and climate change are challenging Sustainable Development issues (SDGs 13–15). Fostering the competencies to deal with such issues is one core task for current educational endeavors. Among these competencies, decision-making competencies are central. In detail, we investigate how learners evaluate alternative decision-making options to improve existing competence models. We exemplify our competence modelling approach using the designation of a Marine Protected Area. The cross-sectional sample consists of secondary school students and student teachers (N = 760). Partial Credit modelling shows that quantitative modelling of decision-making options is a different competence dimension than perspective taking if contextualized for Sustainable Development. In quantitative modelling, mathematical modelling is used to evaluate and reflect on decision-making options. Perspective taking covers the ability to consider different normative perspectives on Sustainable Development issues. Both dimensions show plausible (latent) correlations with related constructs within the nomological net, i.e., with qualitative arguing, economic literacy, mathematical competencies, reading competencies and analytical problem solving. Furthermore, person-abilities increase with level of education for both dimensions. The identified competence dimensions quantitative modelling and perspective taking were successfully modelled and shown to be distinct; the resulting measuring instrument is reliable and valid.
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  • Journal Article

    Assessing the Effect of Diesel Fuel on the Seed Viability and Germination of Medicago sativa Using the Event-Time Model 

    Eze, Michael O.; Hose, Grant C.; George, Simon C.
    Plants 2020; 9(9) p.1-9: Art. 1062
    The remediation of contaminated sites using plant-based techniques has gained increasing attention in recent decades. However, information on the effects of contaminant imbibition on seed viability and germination rates are often lacking in the literature. To this end, our research investigated, by means of an event-time model, the effect of diesel fuel imbibition on the seed viability and germination rate of Medicago sativa, a plant species with great potential for remediation of organic contaminants. The event-time model provided an accurate and biologically relevant method for analysing germination data. Our results reveal that the direct imbibition of diesel fuel by M. sativa seeds for ≤48 h, or their exposure to soil diesel fuel concentrations of 0–10 g/kg diesel fuel, affects their germination rates, as shown by increasing t50 values from 90.6 (±2.78) to 114.2 (±2.67) hours, without significantly affecting seed viability. On the other hand, diesel fuel imbibition of longer duration, or the exposure of M. sativa seeds to ≥20 g/kg diesel fuel-contaminated soils, leads to no further effect on time to seed emergence. Instead, these conditions compromise seed viability, resulting in a decrease in the proportion of germinated seeds from 0.91 (±0.03) in 10 g/kg diesel fuel contaminated soil to 0.84 (±0.04) and 0.70 (±0.05) in 20 and 30 g/kg diesel fuel-contaminated soils, respectively. The fact that low concentrations of diesel fuel and 0–48 h of direct imbibition delayed seed emergence without adversely affecting the percentage of viable seeds suggests that this inhibitory effect on germination at low diesel fuel exposure could be attributed more to physical constraints rather than biological damage on the seeds. The models used in this study provide an accurate and biologically relevant method for the analyses of germination data. This is vital since expensive germination experiments, be it in the field of toxicology or agriculture, deserve to be accurately analysed.
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  • Journal Article

    Rainforest conversion to smallholder plantations of rubber or oil palm leads to species loss and community shifts in canopy ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) 

    Nazarreta, Rizky; Hartke, Tamara R.; Hidayat, Purnama; Scheu, Stefan; Buchori, Damayanti; Drescher, Jochen
    Myrmecological News 2020; 30 p.175-186
    Currently, our understanding of the responses of ant communities under rainforest conversion to cash crops in SE Asia is based on comparisons of primary rainforests to large company-owned oil palm estates in Malaysian Borneo and a few comparisons of natural forests to rubber plantations in Thailand and China. In Indonesia, second largest rubber producer and largest oil palm producer worldwide, the vast majority of its rubber economy and almost half its oil palm acreage relies on smallholder farmers. This study compares canopy ant communities among four land-use systems in Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia: 1) lowland rainforest, 2) jungle rubber (i.e., extensive rubber cultivation), and monoculture plantations of 3) rubber or 4) oil palm. Smallholder plantations of rubber and oil palm support less than 25% of the abundance and less than 50% of the canopy ant species richness in lowland rainforest, with intermediate levels in jungle rubber. Canopy ant communities from rainforest and jungle rubber were similar and differed from those in monoculture rubber and oil palm plantations, which each hosted distinct communities. Nestedness and turnover also differed between rainforest and jungle rubber on the one hand and rubber and oil palm on the other. This pattern was in part due to significantly greater proportions of tramp ants in the monoculture plantations: While virtually absent in forest (< 1%), six tramp ant species accounted for 9.8% of the collected ant individuals in jungle rubber, 26.6% in rubber and 41.1% in oil palm plantations (up to 88.1% in one studied plantation). Overall, this study improves our understanding of the effects of rainforest conversion to cash crop plantations of rubber and oil palm on ant communities by incorporating smallholder systems in one of the most important regions for oil palm and rubber production worldwide.
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  • Journal Article

    Trophic level and basal resource use of soil animals are hardly affected by local plant associations in abandoned arable land 

    Salamon, Jörg‐Alfred; Wissuwa, Janet; Frank, Thomas; Scheu, Stefan; Potapov, Anton M.
    Ecology and Evolution 2020; 10(15) p.8279-8288
    Plants provide resources and shape the habitat of soil organisms thereby affecting the composition and functioning of soil communities. Effects of plants on soil communities are largely taxon‐dependent, but how different functional groups of herbaceous plants affect trophic niches of individual animal species in soil needs further investigation. Here, we studied the use of basal resources and trophic levels of dominating soil meso‐ and macrofauna using stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in arable fallow systems 3 and 14–16 years after abandonment. Animals were sampled from the rhizosphere of three plant species of different functional groups: a legume (Medicaco sativa), a nonlegume herb (Taraxacum officinale), and a grass (Bromus sterilis). We found virtually no consistent effects of plant identity on stable isotope composition of soil animals and on thirteen isotopic metrics that reflect general food‐web structure. However, in old fallows, the carbon isotope composition of some predatory macrofauna taxa had shifted closer to that of co‐occurring plants, which was particularly evident for Lasius, an aphid‐associated ant genus. Trophic levels and trophic‐chain lengths in food webs were similar across plant species and fallow ages. Overall, the results suggest that variations in local plant diversity of grassland communities may little affect the basal resources and the trophic level of prey consumed by individual species of meso‐ and macrofauna belowground. By contrast, successional changes in grassland communities are associated with shifts in the trophic niches of certain species, reflecting establishment of trophic interactions with time, which shapes the functioning and stability of soil food webs.
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  • Journal Article

    Genotyping by Sequencing Reads of 20 Vicia faba Lines with High and Low Vicine and Convicine Content 

    Heinrich, Felix; Gültas, Mehmet; Link, Wolfgang; Schmitt, Armin Otto
    Data 2020; 5(3) p.1-4: Art. 63
    The grain faba bean (Vicia faba) which belongs to the family of the Leguminosae, is a crop that is grown worldwide for consumption by humans and livestock. Despite being a rich source of plant-based protein and various agro-ecological advantages its usage is limited due to its anti-nutrients in the form of the seed-compounds vicine and convicine (V+C). While markers for a low V+C content exist the underlying pathway and the responsible genes have remained unknown for a long time and only recently a possible pathway and enzyme were found. Genetic research into Vicia faba is difficult due to the lack of a reference genome and the near exclusivity of V+C to the species. Here, we present sequence reads obtained through genotyping-by-sequencing of 20 Vicia faba lines with varying V+C contents. For each line, ∼3 million 150 bp paired end reads are available. This data can be useful in the genomic research of Vicia faba in general and its V+C content in particular.
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  • Journal Article

    Verticillium longisporum Elicits Media-Dependent Secretome Responses With Capacity to Distinguish Between Plant-Related Environments 

    Leonard, Miriam; Kühn, Anika; Harting, Rebekka; Maurus, Isabel; Nagel, Alexandra; Starke, Jessica; Kusch, Harald; Valerius, Oliver; Feussner, Kirstin; Feussner, Ivo; et al.
    Kaever, AlexanderLandesfeind, ManuelMorgenstern, BurkhardBecher, DörteHecker, MichaelBraus-Stromeyer, Susanna A.Kronstad, James W.Braus, Gerhard H.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2020; 11 p.1-21: Art. 1876
    Verticillia cause a vascular wilt disease affecting a broad range of economically valuable crops. The fungus enters its host plants through the roots and colonizes the vascular system. It requires extracellular proteins for a successful plant colonization. The exoproteomes of the allodiploid Verticillium longisporum upon cultivation in different media or xylem sap extracted from its host plant Brassica napus were compared. Secreted fungal proteins were identified by label free liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry screening. V. longisporum induced two main secretion patterns. One response pattern was elicited in various non-plant related environments. The second pattern includes the exoprotein responses to the plant-related media, pectin-rich simulated xylem medium and pure xylem sap, which exhibited similar but additional distinct features. These exoproteomes include a shared core set of 221 secreted and similarly enriched fungal proteins. The pectin-rich medium significantly induced the secretion of 143 proteins including a number of pectin degrading enzymes, whereas xylem sap triggered a smaller but unique fungal exoproteome pattern with 32 enriched proteins. The latter pattern included proteins with domains of known pathogenicity factors, metallopeptidases and carbohydrate-active enzymes. The most abundant proteins of these different groups are the necrosis and ethylene inducing-like proteins Nlp2 and Nlp3, the cerato-platanin proteins Cp1 and Cp2, the metallopeptidases Mep1 and Mep2 and the carbohydrate-active enzymes Gla1, Amy1 and Cbd1. Their pathogenicity contribution was analyzed in the haploid parental strain V. dahliae. Deletion of the majority of the corresponding genes caused no phenotypic changes during ex planta growth or invasion and colonization of tomato plants. However, we discovered that the MEP1, NLP2, and NLP3 deletion strains were compromised in plant infections. Overall, our exoproteome approach revealed that the fungus induces specific secretion responses in different environments. The fungus has a general response to non-plant related media whereas it is able to fine-tune its exoproteome in the presence of plant material. Importantly, the xylem sap-specific exoproteome pinpointed Nlp2 and Nlp3 as single effectors required for successful V. dahliae colonization.
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  • Journal Article

    Land-Use and Health Issues in Malagasy Primary Education—A Delphi Study 

    Niens, Janna; Richter-Beuschel, Lisa; Bögeholz, Susanne
    Sustainability 2020; 12(15) p.1-31: Art. 6212
    Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) plays a key role in Sustainable Development. In low-income countries like Madagascar, this key role is particularly relevant to primary education. However, the curricula lack a comprehensive ESD approach that incorporates regional issues. In Madagascar, sustainable land-use practices (Sustainable Development Goals 12, 15) and health prevention (SDGs 2, 3, 6) are educational challenges. Procedural knowledge allows problem-solving regarding unsustainable developments. We adapted and further developed a measure of ESD-relevant procedural knowledge. Considering curricula, sustainability standards, research, and a two-round Delphi study (n = 34 experts), we identified regionally relevant land-use practices and health-protective behavior. After the experts rated the effectiveness and possibility of implementation of courses of actions, we calculated an index of what to teach under given Malagasy (regional) conditions. Combined with qualitative expert comments, the study offers insights into expert views on land-use and health topics: For example, when teaching ESD in Northeast Madagascar, sustainable management of cultivation and soil is suitable, particularly when linked to vanilla production. Health-protective behavior is ultimately more difficult to implement in rural than in urban areas. These results are important for further curricula development, for ESD during primary education, and because they give insights into the topics teacher education should address.
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  • Journal Article

    First Complete Genome Sequences of Janthinobacterium lividum EIF1 and EIF2 and their Comparative Genome Analysis 

    Friedrich, Ines; Hollensteiner, Jacqueline; Schneider, Dominik; Poehlein, Anja; Hertel, Robert; Daniel, Rolf
    Genome Biology and Evolution p.1-21
    We present the first two complete genomes of the Janthinobacterium lividum species, namely strains EIF1 and EIF2, which both possess the ability to synthesize violacein. The violet pigment violacein is a secondary metabolite with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antitumoral properties. Both strains were isolated from environmental oligotrophic water ponds in Göttingen. The strains were phylogenetically classified by ANI analysis and showed a species assignment to Janthinobacterium lividum with 97.72% (EIF1) and 97.66% (EIF2) identity. These are the first complete genome sequences of strains belonging to the species Janthinobacterium lividum. The genome of strain EIF1 consists of one circular chromosome (6,373,589 bp) with a GC-content of 61.98%. The genome contains 5,551 coding sequences, 122 rRNAs, 93 tRNAs, and 1 tm-RNA. The genome of EIF2 comprises one circular chromosome (6,399,352 bp) with a GC-content of 61.63% and a circular plasmid p356839 (356,839 bp) with a GC-content of 57.21%. The chromosome encodes 5,691 coding sequences, 122 rRNAs, 93 tRNAs, and 1 tm-RNA and the plasmid harbors 245 coding sequences. In addition to the highly conserved chromosomally encoded violacein operon, the plasmid comprises a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase cluster (NRPS) with similarity to xenoamicin, which is a bioactive compound effective against protozoan parasites.
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  • Journal Article

    Reference Values of the QOLIBRI from General Population Samples in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands 

    Gorbunova, Anastasia; Zeldovich, Marina; Voormolen, Daphne; Krenz, Ugne; Polinder, Suzanne; Haagsma, Juanita; Hagmayer, York; Covic, Amra; Real, Ruben; Asendorf, Thomas; et al.
    von Steinbuechel, Nicole
    Journal of Clinical Medicine 2020; 9(7) p.1-29: Art. 2100
    The Quality of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) instrument is an internationally validated patient-reported outcome measure for assessing disease-specific health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in individuals after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, no reference values for general populations are available yet for use in clinical practice and research in the field of TBI. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to establish these reference values for the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands (NL). For this purpose, an online survey with a reworded version of the QOLIBRI for general populations was used to collect data on 4403 individuals in the UK and 3399 in the NL. This QOLIBRI version was validated by inspecting descriptive statistics, psychometric criteria, and comparability of the translations to the original version. In particular, measurement invariance (MI) was tested to examine whether the items of the instrument were understood in the same way by different individuals in the general population samples and in the TBI sample across the two countries, which is necessary in order to establish reference values. In the general population samples, the reworded QOLIBRI displayed good psychometric properties, including MI across countries and in the non-TBI and TBI samples. Therefore, differences in the QOLIBRI scores can be attributed to real differences in HRQoL. Individuals with and without a chronic health condition did differ significantly, with the latter reporting lower HRQoL. In conclusion, we provided reference values for healthy individuals and individuals with at least one chronic condition from general population samples in the UK and the NL. These can be used in the interpretation of disease-specific HRQoL assessments after TBI applying the QOLIBRI on the individual level in clinical as well as research contexts.
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  • Journal Article

    Globally Abundant “Candidatus Udaeobacter” Benefits from Release of Antibiotics in Soil and Potentially Performs Trace Gas Scavenging 

    Willms, Inka M.; Rudolph, Anina Y.; Göschel, Isabell; Bolz, Simon H.; Schneider, Dominik; Penone, Caterina; Poehlein, Anja; Schöning, Ingo; Nacke, Heiko
    mSphere 2020; 5(4) p.1-17: Art. e00186-20
    Verrucomicrobia affiliated with “Candidatus Udaeobacter” belong to the most abundant soil bacteria worldwide. Although the synthesis of antibiotics presumably evolved in soil, and environmental pollution with antimicrobials increases, the impact of these complex molecules on “Ca. Udaeobacter” remains to be elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives residing in grassland as well as forest soil ecosystems show multidrug resistance and even take advantage of antibiotics release. Soils treated with up to six different antibiotics exhibited a higher “Ca. Udaeobacter” abundance than corresponding controls after 3, 8, and 20 days of incubation. In this context, we provide evidence that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives may utilize nutrients which are released due to antibiotic-driven lysis of other soil microbes and thereby reduce energetically expensive synthesis of required biomolecules. Moreover, genomic analysis revealed the presence of genes conferring resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics and indicated that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives most likely oxidize the trace gas H$_2$ to generate energy. This energy might be required for long-term persistence in terrestrial habitats, as already suggested for other dominant soil bacteria. Our study illustrates, for the first time, that globally abundant “Ca. Udaeobacter” benefits from release of antibiotics, which confers advantages over other soil bacteria and represents a so-far overlooked fundamental lifestyle feature of this poorly characterized verrucomicrobial genus. Furthermore, our study suggests that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives can utilize H$_2$ as an alternative electron donor. IMPORTANCE Soil bacteria have been investigated for more than a century, but one of the most dominant terrestrial groups on Earth, “Candidatus Udaeobacter,” remains elusive and largely unexplored. Its natural habitat is considered a major reservoir of antibiotics, which directly or indirectly impact phylogenetically diverse microorganisms. Here, we found that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives exhibit multidrug resistance and not only evade harmful effects of antimicrobials but even benefit from antibiotic pressure in soil. Therefore, “Ca. Udaeobacter” evidently affects the composition of soil resistomes worldwide and might represent a winner of rising environmental pollution with antimicrobials. In addition, our study indicates that “Ca. Udaeobacter” representatives utilize H$_2$ and thereby contribute to global hydrogen cycling. The here-reported findings provide insights into elementary lifestyle features of “Ca. Udaeobacter,” potentially contributing to its successful global dissemination.
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