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Porteous, L.A., F. Widmer, and R.J. Seidler. 2002. Multiple enzyme restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis for high resolution distinction of Pseudomonas (sensu stricto) 16S rRNA genes. J. Microbiological Methods 51:337-348. WED-02-001

Members of the genus Pseudomonas (sensu stricto) are important phytopathogens and agents of human infections, while other strains and species have beneficial bioremediation and biocontrol activities. Traditionally, these important species have been difficult to differentiate phenotypically; thus, rRNA lineage analyses have often been invoked. In this report, a newly developed approach is described to rapidly detect and distinguish fluorescent Pseudomonas isolates: PCR amplification of a Pseudomonas-specific 990-bp ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) fragment [AppI. Environ. Microbiol. 64 (1998) 2545.] coupled with multiple enzyme restriction fragment length polymorphism (MERFLP) analysis using a single digestion mixture of AluI, Hinf I, RsaI, and Tru9I incubated at 37 degrees C. The method distinguished 116 published sequences and 47 reference strains of authentic Pseudomonas representing 28 nomenspecies. A total of 55% (64/116) of the sequences analyzed by MERFLP were grouped into distinct phylogenetic clusters including Pseudomonas putida, P. syringae, P. aeruginosa, P. stutzeri, and P. fluorescens. The utility of the MERFLPs was confirmed when 100% (33/33) of the above named control reference strains were correctly placed into their phylogenetic clusters. The environmental relevance of the MERELP method was confirmed when 67% of 28 forest and agricultural soil-derived presumptive Pseudomonas environmental clones and isolates were placed into the five major pseudomonad clusters, one clone fell into the P agarici cluster, and five clones clustered near related pseudomonads. These data demonstrated that the PCR-MERFLP protocol provides an efficient and powerful tool for distinguishing isolates and rDNA gene libraries of environmental Pseudomonas species.

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