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J Microbiol Methods. 2001 Feb 1;44(1):79-88.

Ecological and physiological analyses of Pseudomonad species within a phenol remediation system.

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Molecular Microbial Ecology Laboratory, Natural Environment Research Council, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology-Oxford, Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3SR, UK.


A diverse collection of 700 bacteria obtained from an operational phenolic remediating industrial treatment plant was made to select potential strains as microbial biosensors. Pseudomonads were the most abundant group, of which 48 selected from the liquor or suspended solids were assessed for their physiological response to phenolic pollutant loading and niche specialisation. By FAME-MIS identification the Pseudomonads were clustered into six major species groups. Those isolates able to utilise phenol as a sole carbon source predominantly belonged to a non-clonal Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes cluster determined by REP-PCR genotyping. Rapid microtitre based respiration assays were developed to contrast activity in response to increasing concentrations of phenol. A considerable range in response for both phenol degrader and non-degrader strains was observed. This natural phenotypic and physiological heterogeneity could facilitate the selection of isolates for the development of a suite of ecologically relevant, custom designed sensors with predictable toxicity susceptibilities to monitor process efficacy.

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