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Environ Microbiol. 2001 Jun;3(6):371-9.

Development of specific oligonucleotide probes for the identification and in situ detection of hydrocarbon-degrading Alcanivorax strains.

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Marine Biotechnology Institute, Kamaishi Laboratories, 3-75-1 Heita, Kamaishi, Iwate 026-0001, Japan.


The genus Alcanivorax comprises diverse hydrocarbon-degrading marine bacteria. Novel 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide DNA probes (ALV735 and ALV735-b) were developed to quantify two subgroups of the Alcanivorax/Fundibacter group by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and the conditions for the single-mismatch discrimination of the probes were optimized. The specificity of the probes was improved further using a singly mismatched oligonucleotide as a competitor. The growth of Alcanivorax cells in crude oil-contaminated sea water under the biostimulation condition was investigated by FISH with the probe ALV735, which targeted the main cluster of the Alcanivorax/Fundibacter group. The size of the Alcanivorax population increased with increasing incubation time and accounted for 91% of the 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) count after incubation for 2 weeks. The probes developed in this study are useful for detecting Alcanivorax populations in petroleum hydrocarbon-degrading microbial consortia.

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