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Volume: 72, No:8 , 2006, Pages: 5527–5536

Population Dynamics within a Microbial Consortium during Growth on Diesel Fuel in Saline Environments†

Sabine Kleinsteuber, Volker Riis, Ingo Fetzer, Hauke Harms, and Susann Muller*

UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Department of Environmental Microbiology,
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany.


The diversity and dynamics of a bacterial community extracted from an exploited oil field with high natural soil salinity near Comodoro Rivadavia in Patagonia (Argentina) were investigated. Community shifts during long-term incubation with diesel fuel at four salinities between 0 and 20% NaCl were monitored by singlestrand conformation polymorphism community fingerprinting of the PCR-amplified V4-V5 region of the 16S rRNA genes. Information obtained by this qualitative approach was extended by flow cytometric analysis to follow quantitatively the dynamics of community structures at different salinities. Dominant and newly developing clusters of individuals visualized via their DNA patterns versus cell sizes were used to identify the subcommunities primarily involved in the degradation process. To determine the most active species, subcommunities were separated physically by high-resolution cell sorting and subsequent phylogenetic identification by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Reduced salinity favored the dominance of Sphingomonas spp., whereas at elevated salinities, Ralstonia spp. and a number of halophilic genera, including Halomonas, Dietzia, and Alcanivorax, were identified. The combination of cytometric sorting with molecular characterization allowed us to monitor community adaptation and to identify active and proliferating subcommunities.

Keywords:16SrRNAgenes;Sphingomonasspp;cytometricanalysis;taxonomy;Ralstonia spp;Halomonas;Dietzia;Alcanivorax;halophilic genera;microorganisms.

Corresponding author: Tel 49-341-235 2801; Fax 49-341-235 2247

E-mail: susann.mueller@ufz.de


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