[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Soils from the hyperarid Atacama Desert of northern Chile were sampled along an east-west elevational transect (23.75 to 24.70 degrees S) through the driest sector to compare the relative structure of bacterial communities. Analysis of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles from each of the samples revealed that microbial communities from the extreme hyperarid core of the desert clustered separately from all of the remaining communities. Bands sequenced from DGGE profiles of two samples taken at a 22-month interval from this core region revealed the presence of similar populations dominated by bacteria from the Gemmatimonadetes and Planctomycetes phyla.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 01/2007; 72(12):7902-8. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biosurfactants are a unique class of compounds that have been shown to have a variety of potential applications in the remediation of organic- and metal-contaminated sites, in the enhanced transport of bacteria, in enhanced oil recovery, as cosmetic additives, and in biological control. However, little is known about the distribution of biosurfactant-producing bacteria in the environment. The goal of this study was to determine how common culturable surfactant-producing bacteria are in undisturbed and contaminated sites. A series of 20 contaminated (i.e., with metals and/or hydrocarbons) and undisturbed soils were collected and plated on R(2)A agar. The 1,305 colonies obtained were screened for biosurfactant production in mineral salts medium containing 2% glucose. Forty-five of the isolates were positive for biosurfactant production, representing most of the soils tested. The 45 isolates were grouped by using repetitive extragenic palindromic (REP)-PCR analysis, which yielded 16 unique isolates. Phylogenetic relationships were determined by comparing the 16S rRNA gene sequence of each unique isolate with known sequences, revealing one new biosurfactant-producing microbe, a Flavobacterium sp. Sequencing results indicated only 10 unique isolates (in comparison to the REP analysis, which indicated 16 unique isolates). Surface tension results demonstrated that isolates that were similar according to sequence analysis but unique according to REP analysis in fact produced different surfactant mixtures under identical growth conditions. These results suggest that the 16S rRNA gene database commonly used for determining phylogenetic relationships may miss diversity in microbial products (e.g., biosurfactants and antibiotics) that are made by closely related isolates. In summary, biosurfactant-producing microorganisms were found in most soils even by using a relatively limited screening assay. Distribution was dependent on soil conditions, with gram-positive biosurfactant-producing isolates tending to be from heavy metal-contaminated or uncontaminated soils and gram-negative isolates tending to be from hydrocarbon-contaminated or cocontaminated soils.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 07/2003; 69(6):3280-7. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electric fields and currents have been shown to be capable of disinfecting drinking water and reducing the numbers of bacteria and yeast in food. However, little research has been conducted regarding the effectiveness of electric fields and currents in the inactivation of viruses. The objective of this study was to compare the ability of bacteria and bacteriophage to survive exposure to direct electric current in an electrochemical cell, where they would be subject to irreversible membrane permeabilization processes, direct oxidation of cellular/viral constituents by electric current, and disinfection by electrochemically generated oxidants. Suspensions of the bacteria Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and bacteriophage MS2 and PRD1 at both high (approximately 1 x 10(6)CFU or PFU/mL) and low (approximately 1 x 10(3)CFU or PFU/mL) population densities were exposed to currents ranging from 25 to 350 mA in 5s pulses. Post-exposure plaque counts of the bacteriophage were proportionally higher than bacterial culturable counts at corresponding current exposures. E. coli and MS2 were then exposed to 5 mA for 20 min at both high and low population densities. The inactivation rate of E. coli was 2.1-4.3 times greater than that of MS2. Both bacteria and bacteriophage were more resistant to exposure to direct current at higher population densities. Also, amelioration of inactivation within the electrochemical cell by the reducing agent glutathione indicates the major mechanism of inactivation in the electrochemical cell is disinfection by electrochemically generated oxidants. The implications of these results are that technologies relying upon direct current to reduce the numbers of microbes in food and water may not be sufficient to reduce the numbers of potentially pathogenic viruses and ensure the safety of the treated food or water.
Water Research 06/2003; 37(10):2291-300. · 4.66 Impact Factor