Use of DNA-stable isotope probing and functional gene probes to investigate the diversity of methyl chloride-utilizing bacteria in soil

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  • Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom.


Enrichment and isolation of methyl chloride-utilizing bacteria from various terrestrial environments, including woodland and forest soils, resulted in the identification of seven methyl chloride-utilizing strains belonging to the genus Hyphomicrobium, an Aminobacter strain TW23 and strain WG1, which grouped closely with the genus Mesorhizobium. Methyl chloride enrichment cultures were dominated by Hyphomicrobium species, indicating that these bacteria were most suited to growth under the enrichment and isolation conditions used. However, the application of culture-independent techniques such as DNA-stable isotope probing and the use of a functional gene probe targeting cmuA, which encodes the methyltransferase catalysing the first step in bacterial methyl chloride metabolism, indicated a greater diversity of methyl chloride-utilizing bacteria in the terrestrial environment, compared with the diversity of soil isolates obtained via the enrichment and isolation procedure. It also revealed the presence of as yet uncultured and potentially novel methyl chloride-degrading bacteria in soil.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1318-28
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Bacterial Proteins/genetics, Base Sequence, Biodegradation, Environmental, Carbon Isotopes, DNA Probes/genetics, DNA, Bacterial/genetics, Genes, Bacterial, Genetic Variation, Hyphomicrobium/genetics, Methyl Chloride/chemistry, Methylobacterium/genetics, Methyltransferases/genetics, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Soil Microbiology