Universal oligonucleotide hybridization probes targeting the small- subunit rRNA are commonly used to quantify total microbial representation in environmental samples. Universal probes also serve to normalize results obtained with probes targeting specific phylogenetic groups of microorganisms. In this study, six universal probes were evaluated for stability of probe-target duplexes by using rRNA from nine organisms representing the three domains of Bacteria, Archaea, and Eucarya. Domain- specific variations in dissociation temperatures were observed for all probes. This could lead to a significant bias when these probes are used to quantify microbial populations in environmental samples. We suggest lowering the posthybridization wash stringency for two of the universal probes (S-*- Univ-1390-a-A-18 and S-*-Univ-1392-a-A-15) examined. These two probes were evaluated with traditional and modified hybridization conditions to characterize defined mixtures of rRNAs extracted from pure cultures and rRNA samples obtained from anaerobic digester samples. Probe S-*-Univ-1390-a-A- 18 provided excellent estimations of domain-level community composition of these samples and is recommended for future use in microbial ecology studies.
|Journal||Applied and Environmental Microbiology|
|State||Published - 1996|