(1/10106) Effect of phenylurea herbicides on soil microbial communities estimated by analysis of 16S rRNA gene fingerprints and community-level physiological profiles.

The effect of three phenyl urea herbicides (diuron, linuron, and chlorotoluron) on soil microbial communities was studied by using soil samples with a 10-year history of treatment. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used for the analysis of 16S rRNA genes (16S rDNA). The degree of similarity between the 16S rDNA profiles of the communities was quantified by numerically analysing the DGGE band patterns. Similarity dendrograms showed that the microbial community structures of the herbicide-treated and nontreated soils were significantly different. Moreover, the bacterial diversity seemed to decrease in soils treated with urea herbicides, and sequence determination of several DGGE fragments showed that the most affected species in the soils treated with diuron and linuron belonged to an uncultivated bacterial group. As well as the 16S rDNA fingerprints, the substrate utilization patterns of the microbial communities were compared. Principal-component analysis performed on BIOLOG data showed that the functional abilities of the soil microbial communities were altered by the application of the herbicides. In addition, enrichment cultures of the different soils in medium with the urea herbicides as the sole carbon and nitrogen source showed that there was no difference between treated and nontreated soil in the rate of transformation of diuron and chlorotoluron but that there was a strong difference in the case of linuron. In the enrichment cultures with linuron-treated soil, linuron disappeared completely after 1 week whereas no significant transformation was observed in cultures inoculated with nontreated soil even after 4 weeks. In conclusion, this study showed that both the structure and metabolic potential of soil microbial communities were clearly affected by a long-term application of urea herbicides.  (+info)

(2/10106) Polynucleotide probes that target a hypervariable region of 16S rRNA genes to identify bacterial isolates corresponding to bands of community fingerprints.

Temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) is well suited for fingerprinting bacterial communities by separating PCR-amplified fragments of 16S rRNA genes (16S ribosomal DNA [rDNA]). A strategy was developed and was generally applicable for linking 16S rDNA from community fingerprints to pure culture isolates from the same habitat. For this, digoxigenin-labeled polynucleotide probes were generated by PCR, using bands excised from TGGE community fingerprints as a template, and applied in hybridizations with dot blotted 16S rDNA amplified from bacterial isolates. Within 16S rDNA, the hypervariable V6 region, corresponding to positions 984 to 1047 (Escherichia coli 16S rDNA sequence), which is a subset of the region used for TGGE (positions 968 to 1401), best met the criteria of high phylogenetic variability, required for sufficient probe specificity, and closely flanking conserved priming sites for amplification. Removal of flanking conserved bases was necessary to enable the differentiation of closely related species. This was achieved by 5' exonuclease digestion, terminated by phosphorothioate bonds which were synthesized into the primers. The remaining complementary strand was removed by single-strand-specific digestion. Standard hybridization with truncated probes allowed differentiation of bacteria which differed by only two bases within the probe target site and 1.2% within the complete 16S rDNA. However, a truncated probe, derived from an excised TGGE band of a rhizosphere community, hybridized with three phylogenetically related isolates with identical V6 sequences. Only one of the isolates comigrated with the excised band in TGGE, which was shown to be due to identical sequences, demonstrating the utility of a combined TGGE and V6 probe approach.  (+info)

(3/10106) Effects of salinity and temperature on long-term survival of the eel pathogen Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2 (serovar E).

Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2 (serovar E) is a primary eel pathogen. In this study, we performed long-term survival experiments to investigate whether the aquatic ecosystem can be a reservoir for this bacterium. We have used microcosms containing water of different salinities (ranging from 0.3 to 3.8%) maintained at three temperatures (12, 25, and 30 degrees C). Temperature and salinity significantly affected long-term survival: (i) the optimal salinity for survival was 1.5%; (ii) lower salinities reduced survival, although they were nonlethal; and (ii) the optimal temperature for survival was dependent on the salinity (25 degrees C for microcosms at 0.3 and 0.5% and 12 degrees C for microcosms at 1.5 to 3.8%). In the absence of salts, culturability dropped to zero in a few days, without evidence of cellular lysis. Under optimal conditions of salinity and temperature, the bacterium was able to survive in the free-living form for at least 3 years. The presence of a capsule on the bacterial cell seemed to confer an advantage, since the long-term survival rate of opaque variants was significantly higher than that of translucent ones. Long-term-starved cells maintained their infectivity for eels (as determined by both intraperitoneal and immersion challenges) and mice. Examination under the microscope showed that (i) the capsule was maintained, (ii) the cell size decreased, (iii) the rod shape changed to coccuslike along the time of starvation, and (iv) membrane vesicles and extracellular material were occasionally produced. In conclusion, V. vulnificus biotype 2 follows a survival strategy similar to that of biotype 1 of this species in response to starvation conditions in water. Moreover, the aquatic ecosystem is one of its reservoirs.  (+info)

(4/10106) Immunochemical detection and isolation of DNA from metabolically active bacteria.

Most techniques used to assay the growth of microbes in natural communities provide no information on the relationship between microbial productivity and community structure. To identify actively growing bacteria, we adapted a technique from immunocytochemistry to detect and selectively isolate DNA from bacteria incorporating bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), a thymidine analog. In addition, we developed an immunocytochemical protocol to visualize BrdU-labeled microbial cells. Cultured bacteria and natural populations of aquatic bacterioplankton were pulse-labeled with exogenously supplied BrdU. Incorporation of BrdU into microbial DNA was demonstrated in DNA dot blots probed with anti-BrdU monoclonal antibodies and either peroxidase- or Texas red-conjugated secondary antibodies. BrdU-containing DNA was physically separated from unlabeled DNA by using antibody-coated paramagnetic beads, and the identities of bacteria contributing to both purified, BrdU-containing fractions and unfractionated, starting-material DNAs were determined by length heterogeneity PCR (LH-PCR) analysis. BrdU-containing DNA purified from a mixture of DNAs from labeled and unlabeled cultures showed >90-fold enrichment for the labeled bacterial taxon. The LH-PCR profile for BrdU-containing DNA from a labeled, natural microbial community differed from the profile for the community as a whole, demonstrating that BrdU was incorporated by a taxonomic subset of the community. Immunocytochemical detection of cells with BrdU-labeled DNA was accomplished by in situ probing with anti-BrdU monoclonal antibodies and Texas red-labeled secondary antibodies. Using this suite of techniques, microbial cells incorporating BrdU into their newly synthesized DNA can be quantified and the identities of these actively growing cells can be compared to the composition of the microbial community as a whole. Since not all strains tested could incorporate BrdU, these methods may be most useful when used to gain an understanding of the activities of specific species in the context of their microbial community.  (+info)

(5/10106) Morphological and compositional changes in a planktonic bacterial community in response to enhanced protozoan grazing.

We analyzed changes in bacterioplankton morphology and composition during enhanced protozoan grazing by image analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. Enclosure experiments were conducted in a small, fishless freshwater pond which was dominated by the cladoceran Daphnia magna. The removal of metazooplankton enhanced protozoan grazing pressure and triggered a microbial succession from fast-growing small bacteria to larger grazing-resistant morphotypes. These were mainly different types of filamentous bacteria which correlated in biomass with the population development of heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF). Small bacterial rods and cocci, which showed increased proportion after removal of Daphnia and doubling times of 6 to 11 h, belonged nearly exclusively to the beta subdivision of the class Proteobacteria and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster. The majority of this newly produced bacterial biomass was rapidly consumed by HNF. In contrast, the proportion of bacteria belonging to the gamma and alpha subdivisions of the Proteobacteria increased throughout the experiment. The alpha subdivision consisted mainly of rods that were 3 to 6 microm in length, which probably exceeded the size range of bacteria edible by protozoa. Initially, these organisms accounted for less than 1% of total bacteria, but after 72 h they became the predominant group of the bacterial assemblage. Other types of grazing-resistant, filamentous bacteria were also found within the beta subdivision of Proteobacteria and the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium cluster. We conclude that the predation regimen is a major structuring force for the bacterial community composition in this system. Protozoan grazing resulted in shifts of the morphological as well as the taxonomic composition of the bacterial assemblage. Grazing-resistant filamentous bacteria can develop within different phylogenetic groups of bacteria, and formerly underepresented taxa might become a dominant group when protozoan predation is the major selective pressure.  (+info)

(6/10106) Combination of fluorescent in situ hybridization and microautoradiography-a new tool for structure-function analyses in microbial ecology.

A new microscopic method for simultaneously determining in situ the identities, activities, and specific substrate uptake profiles of individual bacterial cells within complex microbial communities was developed by combining fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) performed with rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes and microautoradiography. This method was evaluated by using defined artificial mixtures of Escherichia coli and Herpetosiphon aurantiacus under aerobic incubation conditions with added [3H]glucose. Subsequently, we were able to demonstrate the potential of this method by visualizing the uptake of organic and inorganic radiolabeled substrates ([14C]acetate, [14C]butyrate, [14C]bicarbonate, and 33Pi) in probe-defined populations from complex activated sludge microbial communities by using aerobic incubation conditions and anaerobic incubation conditions (with and without nitrate). For both defined cell mixtures and activated sludge, the method proved to be useful for simultaneous identification and analysis of the uptake of labeled substrates under the different experimental conditions used. Optimal results were obtained when fluorescently labeled oligonucleotides were applied prior to the microautoradiographic developing procedure. For single-cell resolution of FISH and microautoradiographic signals within activated sludge flocs, cryosectioned sample material was examined with a confocal laser scanning microscope. The combination of in situ rRNA hybridization techniques, cryosectioning, microautoradiography, and confocal laser scanning microscopy provides a unique opportunity for obtaining cultivation-independent insights into the structure and function of bacterial communities.  (+info)

(7/10106) Long-term hantavirus persistence in rodent populations in central Arizona.

For 35 months, we monitored hantavirus activity in rodent populations in central Arizona. The most frequently captured hantavirus antibody-positive rodents were Peromyscus boylii and P. truei. Antibody-positive P. boylii were more frequently male (84%), older, and heavier, and they survived longer on trapping web sites than antibody-negative mice. The number of antibody-positive P. boylii was greater during high population densities than during low densities, while antibody prevalence was greater during low population densities. Virus transmission and incidence rates, also related to population densities, varied by trapping site. The spatial distribution of antibody-positive P. boylii varied by population density and reflected the species preference for dense chaparral habitats. The focal ranges of antibody-positive P. boylii also demonstrated a patchy distribution of hantavirus.  (+info)

(8/10106) Statistical sensitivity for detection of spatial and temporal patterns in rodent population densities.

A long-term monitoring program begun 1 year after the epidemic of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in the U.S. Southwest tracked rodent density changes through time and among sites and related these changes to hantavirus infection rates in various small-mammal reservoir species and human disease outbreaks. We assessed the statistical sensitivity of the program's field design and tested for potential biases in population estimates due to unintended deaths of rodents. Analyzing data from two sites in New Mexico from 1994 to 1998, we found that for many species of Peromyscus, Reithrodontomys, Neotoma, Dipodomys, and Perognathus, the monitoring program detected species-specific spatial and temporal differences in rodent densities; trap-related deaths did not significantly affect long-term population estimates. The program also detected a short-term increase in rodent densities in the winter of 1997-98, demonstrating its usefulness in identifying conditions conducive to increased risk for human disease.  (+info)