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Environ Microbiol. 2000 Feb;2(1):59-68.

Role of commensal relationships on the spatial structure of a surface-attached microbial consortium.

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Department of Microbiology, The Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby.


A flow cell-grown model consortium consisting of two organisms, Burkholderia sp. LB400 and Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1), was studied. These bacteria have the potential to interact metabolically because Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) can metabolize chlorobenzoate produced by Burkholderia sp. LB400 when grown on chlorobiphenyl. The expected metabolic interactions in the consortium were demonstrated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. The spatial structure of the consortium was studied by fluorescent in situ rRNA hybridization and scanning confocal laser microscopy. When the consortium was fed with medium containing a low concentration of chlorobiphenyl, microcolonies consisting of associated Burkholderia sp. LB400 and Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) bacteria were formed, and separate Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) microcolonies were evidently not formed. When the consortium was fed citrate, which can be metabolized by both species, the two species formed separate microcolonies. The structure development In the consortium was studied online using a gfp-tagged Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) derivative. After a shift In carbon source from citrate to a low concentration of chlorobiphenyl, movement of the Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) bacteria led to a change in the spatial structure of the consortium from the unassociated form towards the associated form within a few days. Experiments Involving a gfp-based Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) growth activity reporter strain Indicated that chlorobenzoate supporting growth of Pseudomonas sp. B13(FR1) is located close to the Burkholderia sp. LB400 microcolonies in chlorobiphenyl-grown consortia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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