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Chemotaxis of Ralstonia sp. SJ98 towards p-nitrophenol in soil

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*E-mail rkj@imtech.res.in; Tel. (+91) 0172 2636680; Fax (+91) 0172 2690632.

Summary

Bioremediation of contaminated sites has been accepted as an efficient and cheaper alternative to physicochemical means of remediation in several cases. Although chemotactic behaviour of many bacteria has been studied earlier and assays have been developed to study bacterial chemotaxis in semi-solid media, this phenomenon has never been demonstrated in soil. For bioremediation application it is important to know whether bacteria actually migrate through the heterogenous soil medium towards a gradient of a particular chemoattractant. In the present study we have successfully demonstrated bacterial chemotaxis of a Ralstonia sp. SJ98 in soil microcosm using qualitative and quantitative plate and tray assays. The migration of bacteria has been established using several methods such as plate counting, vital staining and flow cytometry and slot blot hybridization. A non-chemotactic p-nitrophenol utilizing strain Burkholderia cepacia RKJ200 has been used as negative control. Our work clearly substantiates the hypothesis that chemotactic bacteria may enhance in situ bioremediation of toxic pollutants from soils and sediments.

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