Metagenomic Characterization of Microbial Communities On Plasticized Fabric Materials Exposed To Harsh Tropical Environments

Document Type


Publication Date



Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


© 2020 Biodeterioration of plasticized fabrics is a serious problem leading to degradation of materials used in military and civilian applications. This study aimed to characterize the composition of the microbial communities present on six plasticized fabrics exposed to a harsh tropical environment and explore their role in biodeterioration. Metagenomics, bioinformatics, light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and solid-phase microextraction GC-MS were used to characterize the fabric-associated microbial communities and plasticizer degradation. SEM analysis showed multi-layered biofilms containing bacteria and a high abundance of fungal structures and yeast cells. Shotgun metagenomics with a multifaceted bioinformatic pipeline generated 3,314,688 contigs and 120 microbial genomes. The microbial genomes were classified into three domains with the majority belonging to fungi followed by bacteria, and archaea. Functional gene annotation revealed that the fabric-associated microbiomes harbor important pathways for energy generation, stress tolerance, and compounds degradation including esterases, lipases and monooxygenases, suggesting a role of these microorganisms in degradation. The results showed that black yeasts were the keystone species of microbiomes affecting the fabrics. Information from this study will help to understand the effect of different microbial communities and species on the biodeterioration of fabrics and may help support the development of new antimicrobial materials.

Publication Title

International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation



Find in your library