Phylogenetic probes for analyzing abundance and spatial organization of nitrifying bacteria

Bruch K. Mobarry, Michael Wagner, Vincent Urbain, Bruce E. Rittmann, David A. Stahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

793 Scopus citations


A hierarchical set of five 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide DNA probes for phylogenetically defined groups of autotrophic ammonia- and nitrite- oxidizing bacteria was developed for environmental and determinative studies. Hybridization conditions were established for each probe by using temperature dissociation profiles of target and closely related nontarget organisms to document specificity. Environmental application was demonstrated by quantitative slot blot hybridization and whole-cell hybridization of nitrifying activated sludge and biofilm samples. Results obtained with both techniques suggested the occurrence of novel populations of ammonia oxidizers. In situ hybridization experiments revealed that Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas species occurred in clusters and frequently were in contact with each other within sludge flocs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2156-2162
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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