Recently, Cangelosi and Brabant used oligonucleotide probes targeting the precursor 16S rRNA of Escherichia coli to demonstrate that the levels of precursor rRNA were more sensitive to changes in growth phase than the levels of total rRNA (G. A. Cangelosi and W. H. Brabant, J. Bacteriol. 179:4457- 4463, 1997). In order to measure changes in the levels of precursor rRNA in activated sludge systems, we designed oligonucleotide probes targeting the 3' region of the precursor 16S rRNA of Acinetobacter spp. We used these probes to monitor changes in the level of precursor 16S rRNA during batch growth of Acinetobacter spp. in Luria-Bertani (LB) medium, filtered wastewater, and in lab- and full-scale wastewater treatment systems. Consistent with the previous reports for E. coli, results obtained with membrane hybridizations and fluorescence in situ hybridizations with Acinetobacter calcoaceticus grown in LB medium showed a more substantial and faster increase in precursor 16S rRNA levels compared to the increase in total 16S rRNA levels during exponential growth. Diluting an overnight culture of A. calcoaceticus grown in LB medium with filtered wastewater resulted in a pattern of precursor 16S rRNA levels that appeared to follow diauxic growth. In addition, fluorescence in situ hybridizations with oligonucleotide probes targeting total 16S rRNA and precursor 16S rRNA showed that individual cells of A. calcoaceticus expressed highly variable levels of precursor 16S rRNA when adapting from LB medium to filtered sewage. Precursor 16S rRNA levels of Acinetobacter spp. transiently increased when activated sludge was mixed with influent wastewater in lab- and full-scale wastewater treatment systems. These results suggest that Acinetobacter spp. experience a change in growth activity within wastewater treatment systems.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

RNA 16S; Acinetobacter; activated sludge; article; bacterium culture; carboxy terminal sequence; in situ hybridization; nonhuman; RNA analysis; waste water management; Acinetobacter; Base Sequence; Escherichia coli; In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence; Oligonucleotide Probes; RNA, Ribosomal, 16S; Sewage; Waste Disposal, Fluid; Water Microbiology; Water Purification; Acinetobacter; Acinetobacter calcoaceticus; Bacteria (microorganisms); Escherichia coli; Luria

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

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© 2000 American Society for Microbiology, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2000