In this study, we show that noncoding sequences from amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) can provide robust and sensitive genetic markers suitable for PCR-based discrimination of closely related strains of Bacillus and Paenibacillus, and quantitative PCR (qPCR)-based tracking of the strains in complex natural systems like soil. Quantitative PCR was accurate in the ∼1 × 109 to ∼1 × 104 colony forming units (CFU)/g soil range. The detection limit was improved to ∼1 × 102 CFU/g when amplicons were analyzed by gel electrophoresis. Studies with laboratory-contained intact soil-core microcosms indicated that environmental persistence trends vary among different strains. For example, Bacillus circulans ATCC 9500, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens DSL 13563-0, Bacillus licheniformis ATCC 12713, Paenibacillus polymyxa NRRL B-4317, and 3 Bacillus subtilisstrains (ATCC 6051A, ATCC 55405, and NRRL B-941) died down to below the 1 × 10 2 CFU/g detection limit by days 28-105. In contrast, over a 105-day period, B. licheniformis ATCC 55406, Bacillus megaterium NRRL B-14308, and P. polymyxa strains ATCC 55407 and DSL 13540-4 died down but persisted at levels just above the detection limit, whereas Bacillus thuringiensis ATCC 13367 experienced a less than 10-fold decrease in cell numbers.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Bacillus thuringiensis environmental persistence, Bacterial persistence, qPCR, Tracking microbe strains in the environment
Persistent URL
Journal Canadian Journal of Microbiology
Providenti, M.A. (Miguel A.), Begin, M. (Melissa), Hynes, S. (Samielle), Lamarche, C. (Christine), Chitty, D. (David), Hahn, J. (Jessica), … Smith, M. (2009). Identification and application of AFLP-derived genetic markers for quantitative PCR-based tracking of Bacillus and Paenibacillus spp. released in soil. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 55(10), 1166–1175. doi:10.1139/W09-071