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Can J Microbiol. 2000 May;46(5):433-40.

Monitoring by laser-flow-cytometry of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading Sphingomonas sp. strain 107 during biotreatment of a contaminated soil.

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INRS, Institut Armand-Frappier, Microbiologie et Biotechnologie, Laval, Canada.


A flow cytometric method (FCM) was used to detect and accurately enumerate a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial strain, Sphingomonas sp. 107, inoculated into a soil sample artificially contaminated with pyrene. To compare the FCM method with colony forming unit (CFU) assays, a rifampicin-resistant Sphingomonas sp. 107 was obtained which could be distinguished from the indigenous microflora, since there was no organism resistant to rifampicin in the soil that could transform indole to indigo (naphthalene dioxygenase activity). By combining light-scattering profiles (i.e., morphological properties), ethidium bromide influx (i.e., cell wall permeability), and fluorescence in situ hybridization against the 16S rRNA (i.e., detection specificity), we could enumerate the bacterial population of interest from the indigenous microflora and soil debris during the biotreatment. The FCM technique revealed that the number of inoculated Sphingomonas cells decreased gradually for 15 days of incubation before reaching a steady level of 7 to 12 x 10(5) cells.g-1 of soil. Similar values were obtained with the CFU assay. During this period, pyrene concentration decreased from 632 to 26 of dry soil. The FCM detection was improved by adding blocking reagent to the hybridization buffer to minimize the non-specific attachment of the fluorescent probe to soil particles. Combined with the improvements in probe technology, FCM detection was shown to be a good alternative to the conventional culture methods for the analysis of bacterial populations in environmental samples. This technique could be potentially useful for the detection of microorganisms that grow poorly in culture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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