Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Identity of wood degrading bacteria

Molecular analyses of original BACPOLES wood samples showed a large number of different bacteria species to be present in the wood material.

Wood degradation of BACPOLES samples by bacteria was observed in the laboratory and these bacteria were successfully isolated and purified. It was proposed that these bacteria belonged to the CFB complex (Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteriodes), based on:
- Their common occurrence in BACPOLES samples;
- literature surveys that described the CFB group as abundant in very diverse environments in nature, including anoxic sediment;
- Morphological studies showing the isolates to have similarities with bacteria from the CFB group (gram negative rod shaped bacteria, motile by gliding, absence of flagellae, and size);
- Subsequent molecular analysis confirmed that the isolates did belong to the CFB complex and that these bacteria were common in many samples.

Erosion bacteria were isolated from quite varying environments and the different molecular sequences that were identified suggested that several different species of erosion bacteria probably exist, even within the CFB complex. The identity of active erosion bacteria must therefore be documented on a site-by-site basis before any treatment can occur. Further, if phages are to be used as a biological control for wood degradation then a number of phages will have to be produced.

Future work is necessary to find the most common erosion bacteria and also to gain more knowledge on the individual species and their physiological requirements for culturing under laboratory conditions. With increased access to more pure cultures and isolates it will be possible to take a closer look at their general physiology but also the enzymatic systems required for the degradation of lignocellulosic materials. As yet these systems are not understood.

FISH (Fluorescent in situ hybridisation) appears to offer a valuable technique for fast in situ observation and identification of potential erosion bacteria prior to phage-treatment. However, further refinement of this technique is required.

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SP Swedish National Testing and Research Institute Wood Technology Box 5609
SE - 114 86 Stockholm
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