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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Apr;61(4):1201-7.

Survival and activity of Pseudomonas sp. strain B13(FR1) in a marine microcosm determined by quantitative PCR and an rRNA-targeting probe and its effect on the indigenous bacterioplankton.

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Department of Marine Ecology and Microbiology, National Environmental Research Institute, Roskilde, Denmark.


Genetically engineered Pseudomonas sp. strain B13(FR1) was released into laboratory-scale marine ecosystem models (microcosms). Survival of the introduced population in the water column and the sediment was determined by plating on a selective medium and by quantitative competitive PCR. The activity of the released bacteria was determined by in situ hybridization of single cells with a specific rRNA-targeting oligonucleotide probe. Two microcosms were inoculated with 10(6) cells ml-1, while an uninoculated microcosm served as a control. The number of Pseudomonas sp. strain B13(FR1) cells decreased rapidly to ca. 10(2) cells ml-1 within 2 days after the release, which is indicative of grazing by protozoa. Three days after the introduction into seawater, cells were unculturable, but PCR continued to detect cells in low numbers. Immediately after the release, the ribosomal content of Pseudomonas sp. strain B13(FR1) corresponded to a generation time of 2 h. The growth rate decreased to less than 0.04 h-1 in 5 days and remained low, probably because of carbon limitation of the cells. Specific amendment of the microcosms with 10 mM 4-chlorobenzoate resulted in a rapid increase of the growth rate and an exponentially increasing number of cells detected by PCR, but not in resuscitation of the cells to a culturable state. The release of Pseudomonas sp. strain B13(FR1) into the microcosms seemed to affect only the indigenous bacterioplankton community transiently. Effects on the community were also apparent from the handling of water during filling of the microcosms and the amendment with 4-chlorobenzoate.

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