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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Nov;89(5):768-77.

Microbial succession during a composting process as evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis.

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Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Hachiohji, Japan.


Microbial succession during a laboratory-scale composting process of garbage was analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) combined with measurement of physicochemical parameters such as temperature, pH, organic acids, total dissolved organic carbon and water-soluble humic substance. From the temperature changes, a rapid increase from 25 to 58 degrees C and then a gradual decrease, four phases were recognized in the process as follows; mesophilic (S), thermophilic (T), cooling (C) and maturing (M). The polymerase chain reaction-amplified 16S rDNA fragments with universal (907R) and eubacterial (341F with GC clamp) primers were subjected to DGGE analysis. Consequently, the DGGE band pattern changed during the composting process. The direct sequences from DGGE bands were related to those of known genera in the DNA database. The microbial succession determined by DGGE was summarized as follows: in the S phase some fermenting bacteria, such as lactobacillus, were present with the existing organic acids; in the T phase thermophilic bacillus appeared and, after the C phase, bacterial populations were more complex than in previous phases and the phylogenetic positions of those populations were relatively distant from strains so far in the DNA database. Thus, the DGGE method is useful to reveal microbial succession during a composting process.

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