Antimicrobial activity and carbohydrate metabolism in the bacterial metagenome of the soil-living invertebrate Folsomia candida

Valeria Agamennone*, Ngoc Giang Le, Nico M van Straalen, Abraham Brouwer, Dick Roelofs

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The microbiome associated with an animal’s gut and other organs is considered an integral part of its ecological functions and adaptive capacity. To better understand how microbial communities influence activities and capacities of the host, we need more information on the functions that are encoded in a microbiome. Until now, the information about soil invertebrate microbiomes is mostly based on taxonomic characterization, achieved through culturing and amplicon sequencing. Using shotgun sequencing and various bioinformatics approaches we explored functions in the bacterial metagenome associated with the soil invertebrate Folsomia candida, an established model organism in soil ecology with a fully sequenced, high-quality genome assembly. Our metagenome analysis revealed a remarkable diversity of genes associated with antimicrobial activity and carbohydrate metabolism. The microbiome also contains several homologs to F. candida genes that were previously identified as candidates for horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We suggest that the carbohydrate- and antimicrobial-related functions encoded by Folsomia’s metagenome play a role in the digestion of recalcitrant soil-born polysaccharides and the defense against pathogens, thereby significantly contributing to the adaptation of these animals to life in the soil. Furthermore, the transfer of genes from the microbiome may constitute an important source of new functions for the springtail.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7308
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


    We thank Paul Eijk for assisting with the metagenomic library preparation and for performing the sequencing. This study was sponsored by a grant from the BE-Basic Foundation (Biotechnology based Ecologically Balanced Sustainable Industrial Consortium) on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs (grant number F07.003.05).

    FundersFunder number
    Ministerie van Economische ZakenF07.003.05
    BE-Basic Foundation


      Dive into the research topics of 'Antimicrobial activity and carbohydrate metabolism in the bacterial metagenome of the soil-living invertebrate Folsomia candida'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

      Cite this