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Carbon source utilization of soil extracted microorganisms as a tool to detect the effects of soil supplemented with genetically engineered and non-engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum and a recombinant peptide at the community level

Wilfried Vahjen, Jean-Charles Munch, Christoph C. Tebbe
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6941.1995.tb00188.x 317-328 First published online: 1 December 1995


Substrate utilization of microbial cells extracted from soil with a 0.85% aqueous sodium chloride solution, was determined to estimate effects on soil microorganisms at the community level with microtiter plates (Biolog GN®) containing 95 different sources of organic carbon. A consistent pattern of utilized substrates was obtained after 24 h of microtiter plate incubation at 28°C. The absorbance values (OD590) obtained from a microtiter plate reader after background correction were transformed by using the average absorbance values of oxidized substrates as a threshold to distinguish between well utilized and poorly or non-utilized substrates and thereby reduce variances between replicates. Doubling times of the extracted soil microorganisms in the microtiter plates were tested with 12 substrates and ranged from 1.96 h to 3.23 h, depending on the carbon source. The carbon source utilization assay was used to assess the effects of soil inoculation with Corynebacterium glutamicum with and without a genetically engineered plasmid (pUN1; 6.3 kb), which encoded for the synthesis of the mammalian protease inhibiting peptide, aprotinin. Additionally, aprotinin itself was added at two concentrations to soil samples. An identical decrease in the number of carbon sources utilized, especially carbohydrates, occurred upon soil inoculation with both C. glutamicum strains after inoculation with 106 cells g−1 soil. This effect was only detectable during the first three weeks of incubation, as long as cell numbers of C. glutamicum (pUN1) were above 105 cfu g−1. Soil amendment with aprotinin resulted in utilization of additional substrates, most of them carbohydrates. With 0.1 mg aprotinin g−1 soil this stimulation lasted 2 days and with 10 mg g−1 it lasted for 7 days.

  • Soil microbial community
  • Carbon source utilization
  • Aprotinin
  • Genetically engineered microorganism
  • Risk assessment

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