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Microbiologyopen. 2013 Oct;2(5):717-24. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.110. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Characterization of mineral phosphate solubilization traits from a barley rhizosphere soil functional metagenome.

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Department of Science and Health, Institute of Technology Carlow, Carlow, Ireland.


Mineral phosphate solubilization (MPS) microorganisms are important for their provision of orthophosphate anions for plant growth promotion activity in soil. In this study, we applied a functional metagenomic approach to identify this trait directly from the microbiome in barley rhizosphere soil that had not received P fertilizer over a 15-year period. A fosmid system was used to clone the metagenome of which 18,000 clones (~666 Mb of DNA) was screened for MPS. Functional assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis recognized gluconic acid production and MPS activity in the range 24.8-77.1 mmol/L and 27.6-38.16 μg/mL, respectively, when screened in an Escherichia coli host (at frequency of one MPS-positive clone hit per 114 Mb DNA tested). The MPS clones (with average insert size of ~37 kb) were analysed by 454 Roche sequencing and annotated. A number of genes/operons with homology to Phosphorous (P) uptake, regulatory and solubilization mechanisms were identified, linking the MPS function to the uncultivated microbiome present in barley rhizosphere soil.


Glucose dehydrogenase; MPS; pyrroloquinoline quinone; soil metagenome.

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