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J Microbiol Methods. 2005 Oct;63(1):1-19.

Microbial gene expression in soil: methods, applications and challenges.

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Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1.


About 99% of soil microorganisms are unculturable. However, advances in molecular biology techniques allow for the analysis of living microorganisms. With the advent of new technologies and the optimization of previous methods, various approaches to studying gene expression are expanding the field of microbiology and molecular biology. Methods used for RNA extraction, DNA microarrays, real-time PCR, competitive RT-PCR, stable isotope probing and the use of reporter genes provide methods for detecting and quantifying gene expression. Through the use of these methods, researchers can study the influence of soil environmental factors such as nutrients, oxygen status, pH, pollutants, agro-chemicals, moisture and temperature on gene expression and some of the mechanisms involved in the responses of cells to their environment. This review will also address information gaps in bacterial gene expression in soil and possible future research to develop an understanding of microbial activities in soil environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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