AME 15:225-231 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/ame015225

Quantification of catechol 2,3-dioxygenase gene homology and benzoate utilization in intertidal sediments

Chris A. Francis1,*, Alisa Kirk Francis2, Deborah S. Golet2, Bess B. Ward2,**

1Marine Biology Research Division and Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA
2Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA
**Present address: Dept of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA

ABSTRACT: The catechol 2,3-dioxygenase (C23O) gene, xylE, from the TOL plasmid pathway was used to probe naturally occurring bacterial communities in an intertidal microbial mat. Bound probe was quantified by densitometric analysis of slot blots using colorimetric detection of hybridization between the probe and total DNA extracts from the sediments. The C23O gene encodes the key ring-breaking enzyme of the toluene degradation pathway, of which benzoate is an intermediate. Radiotracer experiments using 14C-benzoate detected benzoate mineralization in these sediments, corroborating the presence of both the genetic potential and in situ activity for this transformation.

KEY WORDS: Catechol 2,3-dioxygenase · Quantitative hybridization · Microbial mats · Benzoate utilization

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