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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Nov;64(11):4396-402.

Molecular detection, isolation, and physiological characterization of functionally dominant phenol-degrading bacteria in activated sludge.

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  • 1Marine Biotechnology Institute, Kamaishi Laboratories, Heita, Kamaishi City, Iwate, Japan.


DNA was isolated from phenol-digesting activated sludge, and partial fragments of the 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and the gene encoding the largest subunit of multicomponent phenol hydroxylase (LmPH) were amplified by PCR. An analysis of the amplified fragments by temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) demonstrated that two major 16S rDNA bands (bands R2 and R3) and two major LmPH gene bands (bands P2 and P3) appeared after the activated sludge became acclimated to phenol. The nucleotide sequences of these major bands were determined. In parallel, bacteria were isolated from the activated sludge by direct plating or by plating after enrichment either in batch cultures or in a chemostat culture. The bacteria isolated were classified into 27 distinct groups by a repetitive extragenic palindromic sequence PCR analysis. The partial nucleotide sequences of 16S rDNAs and LmPH genes of members of these 27 groups were then determined. A comparison of these nucleotide sequences with the sequences of the major TGGE bands indicated that the major bacterial populations, R2 and R3, possessed major LmPH genes P2 and P3, respectively. The dominant populations could be isolated either by direct plating or by chemostat culture enrichment but not by batch culture enrichment. One of the dominant strains (R3) which contained a novel type of LmPH (P3), was closely related to Valivorax paradoxus, and the result of a kinetic analysis of its phenol-oxygenating activity suggested that this strain was the principal phenol digester in the activated sludge.

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