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Vol. 72, No. 1, 2006, Pages: 37–43

Identification and Specific Detection of a Novel Pseudomonadaceae Cluster Associated with Soils from Winter Wheat Plots of a Long-Term Agricultural Field Experiment

Manuel Pesaro† and Franco Widmer*

Molecular Ecology, Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland.


The genus Pseudomonas (sensu stricto) represents a group of microorganisms directly involved in functions conferring plant health. We performed a study in the DOK long-term agricultural field experiment on the basis of previously published Pseudomonas-selective PCR primers in order to investigate the community structure of the microbial groups defined by the target range of these primers. Three different agricultural management systems, i.e., conventional, biodynamic, and bio-organic, along with mineral and unfertilized controls were investigated, with each system planted with either winter wheat or a grass-clover ley. Amplified small-subunit rRNA gene fragments were analyzed using the genetic profiling techniques restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), revealing distinct differences between soils planted with winter wheat and grass clover but only minor differences between the management systems. Phylogenetic analyses of 59 clone sequences retrieved from bio-organic and unfertilized systems identified sequences related to Pseudomonas fluorescens and a novel cluster termed Cellvibrio-related Pseudomonadaceae (CRP). The CRP clones were exclusively isolated from winter wheat soil samples and were responsible for the crop-specific differences observed in RFLP and DGGE profiles. New primers were designed for the amplification of CRP targets directly from soil DNA, yielding strong signals exclusively for winter wheat soils. We concluded that crop-associated CRP exist in agricultural soils and that genetic profiling followed by specific probe design represents a valuable approach for identification as well as sensitive and rapid monitoring of novel microbial groups in the environment.

Keywords: Pseudomonas; denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; Pseudomonas fluorescens; Cellvibrio;Pseudomonadaceae;rRNA gene;restriction fragment length polymorphism;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel.: 41 44 377 73 76. Fax: 41 44 377 72 01

E-mail: franco .widmer@fal.admin.ch


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