Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Microcosm experiment

Bacterial wood decay was induced under laboratory conditions and was more intense when oxygenated water was circulated through the wood containing sediment. Even in the nitrogen gassing treatment providing anoxic conditions bacterial wood decay was present. The CO2 production from the sediment was found to correlate with bacterial wood decay although the underlying CO2 producing processes are divers and not fully understood.

The nitrogen and phosphate addition to the sediment did not promote bacterial wood decay. On the contrary the bacterial wood decay intensity could be interpreted as being negatively related to the sediment nitrogen concentration. The nutrient addition to the sediment revealed a sediment pH dependency of the bacterial wood decay intensity. In sediment with sulphate addition, bacterial wood decay was not found after 155 days. The addition of glucose to sediment addition repressed bacterial decay intensity. In sediment with glucose and sulphate addition nearly no bacterial decay was found. Although no strong evidence was presented there are hints that the sulphate addition to sediment might as least for 155 days inhibit bacterial wood decay. When glucose is added to the sulphate containing sediment nearly no bacterial decay was found.

Phagen production
Successful isolation and identification of bacteria are prerequisites for specific phage isolation and hence for the development of a phage-based wood preservatives. The elusive wood degrading bacteria appeared difficult to isolate and cultivate in the laboratory environment. Due to these difficulties the objective to develop a phage-based wood preservative was delayed.

Another aim in the project was to investigate effects of phages in the microcosm experiments. The phage isolation procedure and phage techniques proved successful. Phages were isolated from several samples from the microcosms. However, the general microflora of the microcosms was not investigated, nor were specific wood degrading bacteria successfully identified by other Bacpoles partners. The lack of identification of the bacteria of interest limited possible conclusions. Phagen isolated a large number of various bacteria from the Bacpoles wood samples. The bacteria may now be employed in the 16S rRNA assays used by UoP to assess the identity of living organisms in the samples. In addition, all isolated bacteria constitute potential reservoirs of suitable phages to be used as phage-based preservatives once the wood degrading bacteria have been identified.

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