Dissemination of Catabolic Plasmids among Desiccation-Tolerant Bacteria in Soil Microcosms

  • Frederic Weekers
  • Christian Rodriguez
  • Philippe Jacques
  • Maximilien Mergeay
  • Philippe Thonart
Part of the ABAB Symposium book series (ABAB)


The dissemination of catabolic plasmids was compared to bioaugmentation by strain inoculation in microcosm experiments. When Rhodococcus erythropolis strain T902, bearing a plasmid with trichloroethene and isopropylbenzene degradation pathways, was used as the inoculum, no transconjugant was isolated but the strain remained in the soil. This plasmid had a narrow host range. Pseudomonas putida strain C8S3 was used as the inoculum in a second approach. It bore a broad host range conjugative plasmid harboring a natural transposon, RP4::Tn4371, responsible for biphenyl and 4-chlorobiphenyl degradation pathways. The inoculating population slowly decreased from its original level (106 colony-forming units [CFU]/g of dry soil) to approx 3 x 102 CFU/g of dry soil after 3 wk. Transconjugant populations degrading biphenyl appeared in constant humidity soil (up to 2 x 103 CFU/g) and desiccating soil (up to 104 CFU/g). The feasibility of plasmid dissemination as a bioaugmentation technique was demonstrated in desiccating soils. The écologie significance of desiccation in bioaugmentation was demonstrated: it upset the microbial ecology and the development of transconjugants.

Index Entries

Bioaugmentation drought tolerance conjugation plasmid dissemination microcosm isopropylbenzene 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederic Weekers
    • 1
  • Christian Rodriguez
    • 1
  • Philippe Jacques
    • 2
  • Maximilien Mergeay
    • 3
  • Philippe Thonart
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Walloon Center for Industrial BiologyUniversity of LiegeLiegeBelgium
  2. 2.Walloon Center for Industrial BiologyAgricultural University of GemblouxGemblouxBelgium
  3. 3.Belgian Nuclear Research CenterMolBelgium

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