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Influence of sustainability and immigration in assembling bacterial populations of known size and function

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew Whiteley, Professor Thomas CurtisORCiD


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The rational assembly of microbial communities to perform desired functions would be of great practical benefit to society. Broadly speaking, there are two major theoretical foundations for microbial community assembly: one based on island biogeography theory and another based on niche theory. In this study, we compared a parameter from each theory (immigration rate and sustainability, respectively) to ascertain which was more influential in establishing a functional bacterial population in phenol degrading activated sludge over a 30-day period. Two bacterial strains originally isolated from activated sludge, but differing in their ability to sustain a population in this environment, were repeatedly added to activated sludge reactors at different doses. The resulting size of each population was monitored by competitive polymerase chain reaction. Large, unexpected, yet reproducible fluctuations in population sizes were observed. Irrespective of this, difference in the ability to sustain a population in this environment, overshadowed the influence of 100-fold differences in immigration rate. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Manefield M, Whiteley A, Curtis TP, Watanabe K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Microbial Ecology

Year: 2007

Volume: 53

Issue: 2

Pages: 348-354

ISSN (print): 0095-3628

ISSN (electronic): 1432-184X

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s00248-006-9167-0

PubMed id: 17264996


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