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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Oct;60(10):3672-8.

Quantification of frankia strains and other root-associated bacteria in pure cultures and in the rhizosphere of axenic seedlings by high-performance liquid chromatography-based muramic Acid assay.

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Department of General Microbiology, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Application of a high-performance liquid chromatography-based muramic acid assay with precolumn fluorescence derivatization to quantification of root-associated bacteria was studied both in pure cultures and in the rhizosphere of axenic Festuca rubra seedlings. Quantities of muramic acid from acid-hydrolyzed cells of Frankia strains, Streptomyces griseoviridis, Enterobacter agglomerans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas sp., and Bacillus polymyxa were mostly proportional to the respective cell protein and carbon quantities, but in some strains, culture age and particularly sporulation affected these ratios considerably. The muramic acid/cell protein ratio was generally 2 to 4 times higher in strains of the two actinomycete genera, Frankia and Streptomyces, than in the rest of the strains. Quantification of Frankia strains, S. griseoviridis, E. agglomerans, and Pseudomonas sp. was also attempted from the rhizosphere of F. rubra seedlings which had been inoculated with pure cultured bacteria and incubated briefly. It was possible to quantify Frankia cells by use of the muramic acid assay from both the root and the growth medium, whereas cells of the rest of the bacterial genera could only be detected in the medium. The detection limit for muramic acid was about 10 ng/ml hydrolysis volume, and from the Festuca rhizosphere, 28 to 63% of the muramic acid in the Frankia inoculum was recovered.

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