Biological Sciences, School of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Biological Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Gary Y. Yuen. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Hu Yin


Strains of Lysobacter enzymogenes, a bacterial species with biocontrol activity, have been detected via 16S rDNA sequences in soil in different parts of the world. In most instances, however, their occurrence could not be confirmed by isolation, presumably because the species occurred in low numbers relative to faster-growing species of Bacillus or Pseudomonas. In this study, we developed DNA-based detection and enrichment culturing methods for Lysobacter spp. and L. enzymogenes specifically. In the DNA-based method, a region of 16S rDNA conserved among Lysobacter spp. (L4: GAG CCG ACG TCG GAT TAG CTA GTT), was used as the forward primer in PCR amplification. When L4 and universal bacterial primer 1525R were used to amplify DNA from various bacterial species, an 1100-bp product was found in Lysobacter spp. exclusively. The enrichment culturing method involved culturing soils for 3 days in a chitin-containing broth amended with antibiotics. Bacterial strains in the enrichment culture were isolated on yeast-cell agar and then identified by 16S rDNA sequence analysis. A strain of L. enzymogenes added to soils was detected at populations as low as 102 and 104 CFU/g soil by PCR amplification and enrichment culturing, respectively. In a survey of 58 soil samples, Lysobacter was detected in 41 samples by PCR and enrichment culture, out of which 6 yielded strains of Lysobacter spp. by enrichment culture. Among isolated strains, all were identified to be L. enzymogenes, with the exception of a strain of L. antibioticus. Although neither method alone is completely effective at detecting L. enzymogenes, they are complementary when used together and may provide new information on the spatial distribution of the species in soil.

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