Nucleic Acids in the Environment

Part of the series Springer Lab Manuals pp 9-27

Recovery of Bacterial Cells from Soil

  • L. R. Bakken
  • , V. Lindahl

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Microbial ecology will undoubtedly take a great leap forward by adopting molecular-based techniques for monitoring specific populations in natural habitats. It seems that in the near future, researchers will be able to detect and possibly enumerate DNA sequences which are specific to a species, a phylogenetic or functional group of organisms. The methods also give a new dimension to microscopy, since fluorescent dyes can be coupled to specific oligonucleotides, thus making it possible to observe and enumerate specific genotypes in soil (Amann et al. 1992). A third dimension offered is the use of reporter genes to detect specific events (such as nutrient limitations) in the natural habitat. The direct application of these molecular genetic methods on soil bacteria is often hampered by the large amounts of soil colloids. Hence extraction of bacterial cells from soil may have to precede analysis of their genetic material.