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Use of 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes to investigate the distribution of sulphate-reducing bacteria in estuarine sediments

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor T. Martin Embley FMedSci FRSORCiD


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The distribution of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRBs) in three anaerobic sediments, one predominantly freshwater and low sulphate and two predominantly marine and high sulphate, on the River Tama, Tokyo, Japan, was investigated using 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. Hybridisation results and sulphate reduction measurements indicated that SRBs are a minor part of the bacterial population in the freshwater sediments. Only Desulfobulbus and Desulfobacterium were detected, representing 1.6% of the general bacterial probe signal. In contrast, the SRB community detected at the two marine-dominated sites was larger and more diverse, representing 10-11.4% of the bacterial signal and with Desulfobacter, Desulfovibrio, Desulfobulbus and Desulfobacterium detected. In contrast to previous reports our results suggest that Desulfovibrio may not always be the most abundant SRB in anaerobic sediments. Acetate-utilising Desulfobacter were the dominant SRB in the marine-dominated sediments, and Desulfobulbus and Desulfobacterium were active in low-sulphate sediments, where they may utilise electron acceptors other than sulphate.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Embley TM; Purdy KJ; Nedwell DB; Takii S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Year: 2001

Volume: 36

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 165-168

ISSN (print): 0168-6496

ISSN (electronic): 1574-6941

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2001.tb00836.x


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