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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Polymerase Chain Reaction: Agricultural and Environmental Applications for Soil Microbes

Authors
item Dowd, Scot
item Pepper, Ian - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Submitted to: Manual of Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 22, 2006
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Citation: Dowd, S.E., Pepper, I. 2007. PCR: Agricultural and environmental applications for soil microbes. In: Crawford, R.L., Garland, J.L., Lipson, D.A., Mills, A.L., Stetzenbach, L.D., editors. Manual of Environmental Microbiology. 3rd edition. Washington, DC: ASM Press. p. 663-675.

Interpretive Summary: The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was invented in 1983 by Dr. Kary Mullis while working for Cetus Corporation. PCR quickly was shown to be of incomparable usefulness in simplifying and accelerating molecular biology research. PCR is a powerful molecular tool that can be used to detect gene sequences associated with plant and soil microbes. PCR applications include detection of specific microbes, estimates of microbial diversity, and enzymatic activity. The key to the successful use of PCR is in the design of the primers, which should be directed by the research objectives of the scientist. Though PCR on pure culture isolates is relatively straightforward, PCR detection of gene sequences in environmental samples is not so simple. Such samples often contain PCR inhibitory substances which must be removed prior to PCR amplification. Different protocols are available for microbes in either plant or soil environments. Overall, PCR adds a useful new technology to aid in the study of plant and soil microbes.

Technical Abstract: The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a powerful molecular tool used for detection and amplification of target gene sequences associated with plant and soil microbes. PCR applications in soils include detection of specific microbes, estimates of microbial diversity, and evaluation of enzymatic activity. The key to the successful use of PCR is in the design of the primers, which should be directed by the research objectives of the scientist. Though PCR on pure culture isolates is relatively straightforward, PCR detection of gene sequences in environmental samples is not so simple. Such samples often contain PCR inhibitory substances which must be removed prior to PCR amplification. Different protocols are available for microbes in either plant or soil environments. Overall, PCR adds a useful new technology to aid in the study of plant and soil microbes.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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