Introduction to microplate MPN-enumeration of hydrocarbon degraders

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Most-probable-number (MPN) methods are used for determining the number of specific types of microorganisms in environmental samples or liquid cultures. Here we present three specific methods for applying the MPN method to quantify hydrocarbon-degrading populations in samples from contaminated environments. Two of those use specific coloration of active hydrocarbon-degrading communities enriched in the MPN procedure, namely the INT-method and a protocol that uses the tetrazolium compound WST-1 for detection of growth-positive wells. Finally, we describe an MPN enumeration based on mineralization of 14C- labeled substrates, which is probably the most reliable quantification method for hydrocarbon degraders. In this method, a 14C-hydrocarbon is mineralized to 14CO2 in growth-positive wells, and the produced 14CO2 is captured in alkaline traps and quantified. In the procedure described below, we have modified the method for a 96-well microplate setup, where the 14CO2 is quantified simultaneously from all wells by autoradiography followed by digital image analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of hydrocarbon and lipid microbiology
EditorsKenneth N. Timmis
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-3-540-77584-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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