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Determination of plasmid DNA concentration maintained by nonculturable Escherichia coli in marine microcosms.

By J J Byrd, J G Leahy and R R Colwell


The concentration of plasmid pBR322 DNA in nonculturable Escherichia coli JM83 was measured to determine whether the plasmid concentration changed during survival of E. coli in marine and estuarine water. E. coli JM83 containing the plasmid pBR322 was placed in both sterile seawater and sterile estuarine water and analyzed for survival (i.e., culturability) and plasmid maintenance. The concentration of pBR322 DNA remained stable in E. coli JM83 for 28 days in an artificial seawater microcosm, even though nonculturability was achieved within 7 days. E. coli JM83 incubated in sterile natural seawater or sterile estuarine water did not reach nonculturability within 30 days. Under all three conditions, plasmid pBR322 DNA was maintained at approximately the initial concentration. Cloning of DNA into the plasmid pUC8 did not alter the ability of E. coli to maintain vector plasmid DNA, even when the culture was in the nonculturable state, but the concentration of plasmid DNA decreased with time in the microcosm. We conclude that E. coli is able to maintain plasmid DNA while in the nonculturable state and that the concentration at which the plasmid is maintained appears to be dependent upon the copy number of the plasmid and/or the presence of foreign DNA

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1992
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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