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Diversity of bacteria contaminating paper machines



Formation of microbial biofilms and slimes is a general and serious problem in the operation of paper machines. Studies of microbial populations in paper machine-derived biofilms have been conducted using standard microbiological procedures; however, the bacterial genera present in this type of samples as well as their diversity are quite poorly known. Here, the bacterial diversity of 38 process water and 22 biofilm samples from four different Finnish paper machines were analyzed by length heterogeneity analysis of PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA (LH-PCR). In addition, sequencing of the amplified 16S rRNA gene from 69 clones was conducted for characterization of the bacterial genera present in biofilm and slime samples. The LH-PCR profiles of both the free-living (process waters) and immobilized (biofilms) bacteria were diverse at all stages of the papermaking process. Out of the 69 sequenced clones, 44 belonged to alpha- Proteobacteria , most of which were close to the nitrogen-fixing root nodule genera Sinorhizobium , Rhizobium and Azorhizobium . Other clones were assigned to beta- and gamma- Proteobacteria and the phylum Bacteroidetes . In addition, eight of the clones were assigned to a yet uncultivated phylum, TM7. Finally, epifluorescence microscopy revealed that Gram-negative bacteria were predominant in both the biofilm (65%) and process water (54%) samples and a small coccoid cell morphology was most common in all samples. Together, our results show that the analysis of microbial samples from paper machines using modern molecular biology techniques adds valuable information and should, therefore, be useful as a more specific and sensitive microbiological method for the paper industry. This information could further be applied, e.g., in the development of more specific and environmental friendly antimicrobial agents for paper mills.



Journal of Industrial Microbiology BiotechnologySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 2006

DOI: 10.1007/s10295-006-0105-4

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