Inter-laboratory quantification of Bacteria and Archaea in deeply buried sediments of the Baltic Sea (IODP Expedition 347) Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/1414-6799-6486-8124-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2017


  • Two common quantification methods for subseafloor microorganisms are catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization (CARD-FISH) and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Using these methods, we quantified Bacteria and Archaea in Baltic Sea basin sediments (IODP Exp. 347) down to 90 mbsf, testing the following hypotheses in an interlaboratory comparison: (1) proteinase K permeabilization of archaeal cell walls increases CARD-FISH accuracy and (2) qPCR varies by more than an order of magnitude between laboratories using similar protocols. CARD-FISH counts did not differ between permeabilization treatments, demonstrating that proteinase K did not increase accuracy of CARD-FISH counts. However, 91% of these counts were below the quantification limit of 1.3 × 107 cells cm−3. For qPCR, data varied between laboratories, but were largely within the same order of magnitude if the same primers were used, with 88% of samples being above the quantification limit. Copy number values were elevated by preparing a sediment slurry before DNA extraction: 3.88 × 106–2.34 × 109 16S rRNA gene copies cm−3 vs. 1.39 × 107–1.87 × 109 total cells cm−3. By qPCR, Bacteria were more abundant than Archaea, although they usually were within the same order of magnitude. Overall, qPCR is more sensitive than CARD-FISH, but both require optimization to consistently achieve both precision and accuracy.


  • 93


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