Biophysics, Plenary Lecture

NAMING BACTERIA: REVOLUTIONISING MOLECULAR MICROBIAL ECOLOGY

AleŇ° Lapanje, Institute of Metagenomics and Microbial Technologies, Slovenija

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ABSTRACT

Microorganisms are present everywhere and they are the motor of the biogeochemical cycling of elements. As a result of their activity every living being can actually exist since nitrogen atom can be available to organisms only due to diazotrophy, the process of N2 fixation. Although action of most of the microbes is beneficial either to whole environment or to the specific organism, small percentage of microbes are pathogenic or are involved in some of the disadvantageous processes. These processes can cause issues in medicine, transportation, agriculture as well as in industrial setups. Since in most cases it is not only a single isolated organism involved in such processes, we need to consider these problems as a result of interaction between more than two microbial species or strains. Spatially these communities form aggregates, flocks, biofilms and particular cells within the community positioning themselves in a determined space. This enable them to be either protected from harsh environmental conditions, such as increase of antibiotics concentrations, or to make to them available a particular food source produced by other species within the community. Although, one can imagine these problems, analysing such communities is not a trivial problem, especially since it is hard to distinguish one cell from another just by their morphology. In addition, the most of these microorganisms are also not culturable and cannot be analysed by conventional microbiological methods. Currently, the only approach to distinguish microbes from each other, to determine their potency, dynamics of activity and distribution within the communities, can be based on DNA sequencing methodology. Therefore, here it will be shown principles of currently known DNA sequencing techniques and in more detail it will be explained sequencing procedures based on the fluorescent labelling approaches.

Representing author

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Dr. AleŇ° Lapanje

Institute of Metagenomics and Microbial Technologies
Slovenija

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