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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993 May;59(5):1560-4.

Fate of Enterobacter cloacae JP120 and Alcaligenes eutrophus AEO106(pRO101) in soil during water stress: effects on culturability and viability.

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  • 1Department of Marine Ecology and Microbiology, National Environmental Research Institute, Roskilde, Denmark.


A sandy loam soil near field capacity moisture content (psi = -0.050 MPa) or air dried (psi = -300 MPa) was inoculated with about 3 x 10(7) CFU of Enterobacter cloacae JP120 and Alcaligenes eutrophus AEO106(pRO101) per g and incubated in 40-g portions at 17 degrees C in closed or open Erlenmeyer flasks. In the field-moist soil, selective plating, direct viable counts, and DNA hybridization showed only minor changes in the numbers of E. cloacae and A. eutrophus cells with time (14 days), and the results obtained with the three detection methods generally agreed. In the air-dried soil, the majority of both bacteria were found as intact DNA-carrying cells that were neither culturable nor viable by the methods employed in this study. The numbers of culturable E. cloacae and A. eutrophus cells dropped to 10(5) and 10(2) CFU/g, respectively, 2 h after inoculation. Direct viable counts showed that only about 1% of the cells detected by immunofluorescence microscopy were viable, but a fraction of viable nonculturable cells of both bacteria was present. A. eutrophus did not tolerate desiccation as well as E. cloacae. Only a minor fraction of the two test organisms regained their culturability or viability after rewetting of the air-dried soil; the number of total heterotrophic culturable bacteria, however, increased more than 10-fold and reached 73% of the level found in the field-moist soil at day 14.

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