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Can J Microbiol. 2002 Apr;48(4):333-41.

Analyses of microbial activity in biomass-recycle reactors using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA PCR products.

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Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The relationship between mixed microbial community structure and physiology when grown under substrate-limited conditions was investigated using continuous-flow bioreactors with 100% biomass recycle. Community structure was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the PCR and RT-PCR amplified V3 region of 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA templates, respectively. Comparisons were made of communities exposed to different types of transient conditions (e.g., long- and short-term starvation, increasing nutrients). With progressively more stringent substrate limitation over time, the specific content of community RNA declined by more than 10-fold and closely followed the decline in specific growth rate. In contrast, the DNA content was variable (up to 3-fold differences) and did not follow the same trend. Cluster analysis of the presence or absence of individual bands indicated that the fingerprints generated by the two templates were different, and community response was first observed in the rRNA fraction. However, both the rDNA and rRNA fingerprints provided a picture of temporal population dynamics. Dice similarity coefficients gave a quantitative measure of the differences and changes between the communities. In comparison, standard cultivation techniques yielded only a quarter of the phylotypes detected by DGGE, but included the most dominant population based on rRNA. Nucleotide-sequence analyses of the almost complete 16S rRNA genes of these isolates place them in the same group of organisms that is typically cultivated from environmental samples: alpha, beta, and gamma Proteobacteria and the high GC and the low GC Gram-positive divisions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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