Author(s): Manefield M, Whiteley AS, Griffiths RI, Bailey MJ
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Abstract Identifying microorganisms responsible for recognized environmental processes remains a great challenge in contemporary microbial ecology. Only in the last few years have methodological innovations provided access to the relationship between the function of a microbial community and the phylogeny of the organisms accountable for it. In this study stable-isotope-labeled [13C]phenol was fed into a phenol-degrading community from an aerobic industrial bioreactor, and the 13C-labeled RNA produced was used to identify the bacteria responsible for the process. Stable-isotope-labeled RNA was analyzed by equilibrium density centrifugation in concert with reverse transcription-PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. In contradiction with findings from conventional methodologies, this unique approach revealed that phenol degradation in the microbial community under investigation is dominated by a member of the Thauera genus. Our results suggest that this organism is important for the function of this bioreactor.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development