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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Feb;67(2):972-6.

Quantification of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in arable soil by real-time PCR.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Linköping University, S-58183 Linköping, Sweden.


Real-time PCR was used to quantify populations of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria representing the beta subdivision of the class Proteobacteria in samples of arable soil, both nitrogen fertilized and unfertilized, from Mellby, Sweden. Primers and probes targeting a 16S ribosomal DNA region of the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria were designed and used. In the fertilized soil there were approximately 6.2 x 10(7) ammonia-oxidizing bacteria per g of soil, three times more than the number of bacteria in the unfertilized soil. The lytic efficiency of bead beating in these soils was investigated by using populations of free or loosely attached bacteria, bacteria tightly bound to particles, and bacteria in nonfractionated samples. The shapes of the curves generated in these tests showed that the concentration of template DNA released at various times remained constant after 10 to 100 s of bead beating.

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