Stable Isotope Probing of Microorganisms in Environmental Samples with H218O

  • Egbert SchwartzEmail author
  • Michaela Hayer
  • Bruce A. Hungate
  • Rebecca L. Mau
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2046)


We describe a protocol for investigating microbial growth in environmental samples via stable isotope probing (SIP) with H218O. Water is a universal substrate for all microorganisms and replication is required for DNA to become labeled with 18O. By measuring how much the DNA of each taxon becomes enriched with 18O when an environmental sample is incubated with H218O, it is feasible to quantify that population’s DNA replication rate, which is a proxy for growth.

Key words

Stable isotope probing H218Microbial growth 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF DEB-1241094) and the Department of Energy’s Biological Systems Science Division, Program in Genomic Science (DE-SC0010579 and DE-SC0016207).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Egbert Schwartz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michaela Hayer
    • 1
  • Bruce A. Hungate
    • 1
  • Rebecca L. Mau
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Ecosystem Science and SocietyNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA
  2. 2.Pathogen and Microbiome InstituteNorthern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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