Detection of genetically modified microorganisms in soil using the most-probable-number method with multiplex PCR and DNA dot blot

Jinki Yeom, Lee Yunho Lee, Jaemin Noh, Jaejoon Jung, Jungsoon Park, Hyoju Seo, Jisun Kim, Jiwon Han, Che Ok Jeon, Taesung Kim, Woojun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The principal objective of this study was to detect genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs) that might be accidentally released into the environment from laboratories. Two methods [plate counting and most-probable-number (MPN)] coupled with either multiplex PCR or DNA dot blots were compared using genetically modified Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, and Acinetobacter oleivorans harboring an antibiotic-resistance gene with additional gfp and lacZ genes as markers. Alignments of sequences collected from databases using the Perl scripting language (Perl API) and from denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis revealed that the gfp, lacZ and antibiotic-resistance genes (kanamycin, tetracycline, and ampicillin) in GMMs differed from the counterpart genes in many sequenced genomes and in soil DNA. Thus, specific multiplex PCR primer sets for detection of plasmid-based gfp and lacZ antibiotic-resistance genes could be generated. In the plate counting method, many antibiotic-resistant bacteria from a soil microcosm grew as colonies on antibiotic-containing agar plates. The multiplex PCR verification of randomly selected antibiotic-resistant colonies with specific primers proved ineffective. The MPN-multiplex PCR method and antibiotic-resistant phenotype could be successfully used to detect GMMs, although this method is quite laborious. The MPN-DNA dot blot method screened more cells at a time in a microtiter plate containing the corresponding antibiotics, and was shown to be a more efficient method for the detection of GMMs in soil using specific probes in terms of labor and accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-816
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Research, Republic of Korea , to W.P.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bacteria
  • Gene manipulation
  • Genetic marker
  • Microcosm
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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