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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2001 Jun;79(2):209-17.

Methanotrophic diversity in an agricultural soil as evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles of pmoA, mxaF and 16S rDNA sequences.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Bergen, Norway.


Molecular methods were used to characterize the diversity of a methanotrophic population in an agricultural soil. For this purpose we have used DGGE analysis of functional and phylogenetic markers. Functional markers utilised comprised the pmoA-gene coding for the alpha-subunit of the particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) present in all known methanotrophs and the mxaF-gene coding for the alpha-subunit of methanol dehydrogenase (MDH) present in all gram-negative methylotrophs. In addition, we have used 16S rDNA as a phylogenetic marker. DGGE patterns of an enrichment culture, and sequencing of major DGGE bands obtained with the bacterial specific primers showed that the community structure was dominated by methanotrophic populations related to Methylobacter sp. and Methylomicrobium sp. The PCR products amplified with the functional primer sets were related to both type I and type II methanotrophs. We also designed a new pmoA-targeting primer set which could be used in a nested protocol to amplify PCR-products from DNA extracted directly from the soil.

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