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Microb Ecol. 2000 Dec;40(4):345-356.

Evolution of Bacterial Diversity during Enrichment of PCP-Degrading Activated Soils.

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Institut Armand-Frappier-Microbiologie et Biotechnologie, INRS, 531 boulevard des Prairies, Laval, Québec, Canada H7V 1B7.


The microbiota of completely mixed soil slurry was acclimated with pentachlorophenol (PCP) or with a wood preservative mixture (WPM) containing several pollutants such as PCP and petroleum hydrocarbons. The impact of these compounds on the bacterial diversity was studied by using molecular tools. PCR amplifications of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences (rDNA) were carried out with total DNA extracted from soil slurry samples taken at different time points during the enrichment process of the PCP and WPM reactors. The composition of these PCR products, reflecting the bacterial diversity, was monitored by the single-strand-conformation polymorphism (SSCP) method. Our results showed that the complexity of the SSCP profiles in the PCP reactor decreased significantly during the enrichment process, whereas they remained complex in the WPM reactor. PCR-amplified 16S rDNA libraries were generated from each reactor. The SSCP method was used to rapidly screen several clones of these libraries to find specific single-strand DNA migration profiles. In the PCP-activated soil, 96% of examined clones had the same SSCP profile, and sequences of representative clones were related to the genus Sphingomonas, suggesting that the enrichment with PCP resulted in a selection of little phylogenetic diversity. Four different SSCP profiles were observed with the 68 examined clones from the WPM reactor. Representative clones of these profiles were related to Methylocystaceae or Rhizobiaceae, to sulfur-oxidizing symbionts, to the genus Acinetobacter, and to the genus Sphingomonas. We also cloned and sequenced PCR-amplified DNA related to the pcpB gene, coding for the Sphingomonas PCP-4-monooxygenase and detected in both reactors after two weeks of enrichment. Of the 16 examined clones, deduced amino acid sequences of 13 clones were highly related to the Sphingomonas sp. strain UG30 pcpB. The three remaining pcpB clones were not closely related to the three known Sphingomonas pcpB.


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