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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1998 Mar;21(1):72-88.

A qualitative evaluation of the published oligonucleotides specific for the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.

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  • 1Laboratory of Microbial Gene Technology, Agricultural University of Norway.


Over the past few years, there has been an increasing interest in making oligonucleotides specific for ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), in order to detect and monitor these slow growing bacteria in environmental samples, in enrichment cultures and in wastewater treatment plants. Based on 16S rDNA sequences, a broad selection of oligonucleotides have been designed, either encompassing all known AOB in the beta-subgroup of the Proteobacteria (beta AOB), or subclasses within beta AOB. Thirty different oligonucleotides have so far been published, with varying specificity. The first AOB-specific oligonucleotides published were obtained as a result of an alignment of only eleven 16S rDNA sequences from AOB. Including the present study, there are now forty nearly full length 16S rDNA sequences available from these bacteria, in addition to a number of partial sequences, so that an improved evaluation of the published oligonucleotides can be done. Two new 16S rRNA gene sequences from Nitrosospira are presented here, in a phylogenetic analysis containing every 16S rRNA gene sequences (> 1 kb) available from AOB. On the basis of an alignment of all these sequences, combined with searches in the nucleotide sequence databases, an evaluation of the thirty published oligonucleotides is presented. The analysis expose the strength and weakness of each oligonucleotide and discuss the use of oligonucleotides specific for 16S rRNA genes in future studies of AOB. The present work also identifies one new, broad range primer, specific for the AOB in the beta-subgroup of the Proteobacteria.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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