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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Jan;63(1):254-62.

Isolation and molecular identification of planctomycete bacteria from postlarvae of the giant tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Bacteria phenotypically resembling members of the phylogenetically distinct planctomycete group of the domain Bacteria were isolated from postlarvae of the giant tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon. A selective medium designed in the light of planctomycete antibiotic resistance characteristics was used for this isolation. Planctomycetes were isolated from both healthy and monodon baculovirus-infected prawn postlarvae. The predominant colony type recovered from postlarvae regardless of viral infection status was nonpigmented. Other, less commonly observed types were pink or orange pigmented. A planctomycete-specific 16S rRNA-directed probe was designed and used to screen the isolates for their identity as planctomycetes prior to molecular phylogenetic characterization. 16S rRNA genes from nine prawn isolates together with two planctomycete reference strains (Planctomyces brasiliensis and Gemmata obscuriglobus) were sequenced and compared with reference sequences from the planctomycetes and other members of the domain Bacteria. Phylogenetic analyses and sequence signatures of the 16S rRNA genes demonstrated that the prawn isolates were members of the planctomycete group. Five representatives of the predominant nonpigmented colony type were members of the Pirellula group within the planctomycetes, as were three pink-pigmented colony type representatives. Homology values and tree topology indicated that representatives of the nonpigmented and pink-pigmented colony types formed two discrete clusters within the Pirellula group, not identical to any known Pirellula species. A sole representative of the orange colony type was a member of the Planctomyces group, virtually identical in 16S rDNA sequence to P. brasiliensis, and exhibited distinctive morphology.

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