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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1992 Aug;58(8):2458-62.

Development and application of a new method to extract bacterial DNA from soil based on separation of bacteria from soil with cation-exchange resin.

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  • 1Department of Marine Ecology and Microbiology, National Environmental Research Institute, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde, and Department of Molecular Food Technology, Biotechnical Institute, Lundtoftevej 100, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark.


A new method for the extraction of bacterial DNA from soil has been developed. Soil samples of 50 g were dispersed, and bacteria were released by use of a cation-exchange resin; subsequently, bacteria were separated from soil particles by low-speed centrifugation and lysed with lysozyme and ionic detergent, and the DNA was then purified by CsCl-ethidium bromide equilibrium density centrifugation. The extracted DNA was of high molecular weight and sufficiently pure for restriction enzyme digestion, DNA-DNA hybridization, and amplification by the polymerase chain reaction. The advantages of the new method are that the separation of bacteria from soil is considerably faster than by repeated blending, more samples can be handled, and furthermore no aerosols are formed during separation. Also, we investigated whether the CsCl-ethidium bromide equilibrium density centrifugation could be replaced by purification using Gene-Clean. However, this method produced DNAs which were insufficiently pure for several types of analysis. The new method was used to study survival of a 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)-degrading Pseudomonas cepacia DBO1 (pRO101) in unamended soil and in soil amended with 2,4-D. We found that the degrading strain, irrespective of inoculation level, was able to grow to the same high numbers in soil amended with 2,4-D, while the strain in nonamended soil were maintained at the inoculation level. Detection based on DNA extraction and subsequent dot blot DNA-DNA hybridization was in accordance with detection by plating on selective medium.

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