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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 May 1;198(2):91-7.

Group-specific 16S rRNA targeted probes for the detection of type I and type II methanotrophs by fluorescence in situ hybridisation.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany.


The study of methane-oxidising bacteria (methanotrophs) is of special interest, because of their role in the natural reduction of methane emissions from many different sources. Therefore new probes were developed to detect specifically either type I (Methylococcaceae) or type II methanotrophs (Methylocystaceae). The probes have shown high specificity in fluorescence in situ hybridisations (FISH), as demonstrated by parallel hybridisation of target and reference strains as well as sequence data analysis. With these probes, methanotrophs were detected in soil and root samples from rice microcosms, demonstrating their applicability even in a complex environmental matrix.

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