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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2000 Apr 1;32(1):25-34.

Comparison of pure cultures and natural assemblages of planktonic photosynthetic sulfur bacteria by low molecular mass RNA fingerprinting.

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Departament de Genètica i de Microbiologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E-08193, Bellaterra, Spain


Pure cultures of phototrophic sulfur bacteria were compared to natural populations that bloom in karstic lakes by electrophoretic analysis of low molecular mass RNA molecules (lmwRNA) and microscopy. Similarities between dominant community members, field isolates and reference strains were established by comparing the lmwRNA band patterns through dendrograms produced with Euclidean distances and the average linkage clustering method, by a single, quick, one-step method. The fingerprinting analysis had three objectives: (i) to compare microbial assemblages from different geographical locations, (ii) to compare those organisms which grow in pure culture to those forming planktonic blooms and (iii) to give a preliminary view of the identity of the predominant community members. The lmwRNA analysis yielded a number of clusters consistent with the microscopic observations and allowed rapid comparison of the microbial communities without the need to isolate their individual components. The fingerprints of natural communities were different from most of the laboratory strains tested. Purple sulfur bacteria responsible for the blooms analyzed in karstic lakes were more closely related to the Thiocystis group than to the classical strains extensively studied in the laboratory.

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