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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1999 May;22(2):186-96.

Specific oligonucleotide probes for in situ detection of a major group of gram-positive bacteria with low DNA G + C content.

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  • 1Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Germany.


Almost one thousand 16S rRNA sequences of Gram-positive bacteria with a low DNA G + C content from public databases were analyzed using the ARB software package. A signature region was identified between positions 354 and 371 (E. coli numbering) for the Bacillus sub-branch of the Gram-positive bacteria with a low DNA G + C content, the former orders Bacillales and Lactobacillales. Three oligonucleotide probes, namely LGC354A, LGC354B, and LGC354C, were designed to target this diagnostic site. Their fluorescent derivatives were suitable for whole cell detection by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Hybridization conditions were adjusted for differentiation of target and related non-target reference species. When applying FISH to whole bacterial cells in a sample of activated sludge from a communal wastewater treatment plant, members of the Bacillus sub-branch were detected at levels from 0.01% of cells in samples fixed with paraformaldehyde to over 8 percent in the same samples fixed with ethanol and treated with lysozyme. The problems of quantitative in situ analysis of Gram-positive bacteria with a low DNA G + C content in biofilm flocs are discussed and recommendations made. Members of the Bacillus sub-branch were detected in different abundances in activated sludge samples from different wastewater plants.

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