Heterotrophic bacteria of the freshwater neuston and their ability to act as plasmid recipients under nutrient deprived conditions.

Microbial ecology

PubMedID: 24194323

Jones GW, Baines L, Genthner FJ. Heterotrophic bacteria of the freshwater neuston and their ability to act as plasmid recipients under nutrient deprived conditions. Microb Ecol. 1991;22(1):15-25.
Significantly higher numbers of Gram-negative heterotrophic bacteria were present at the air-water interface (neston) of freshwater lakes than in the bulk water. Neuston bacteria were distinguished as a population distinct from bacteria in the bulk water by a higher incidence of pigmented colony types and significantly greater levels of multiple resistance to antibiotics and heavy metals. The incidence of plasmids in 236 neuston and 229 bulk water strains were similar (14 and 16.2%, respectively). Nine of 168 plasmid-free strains and 2 of 14 plasmid carrying strains, isolated from both bulk water and neuston, acted as recipients of plasmid R68.45 in plate matings with aPseudomonas aeruginosa donor strain PAO4032 at 21°C, but at frequencies below that of matings with a restriction-minus recipient strain ofP. aeruginosa, strain PAO1168. In a model system composed of nutrient-free synthetic lake water, plasmid R68.45 was shown to transfer betweenP. aeruginosa strains at frequencies between 10(-3) and 10(-5). Transconjugants were detected about 100 times more frequently at the interface than in the bulk water, which in part reflected a greater enrichment of the donor at this site. None of the aquatic isolates were able to act as recipients of plasmid R68.45 in this model system with strain PAO4032 as donor. The results suggest that under nutrient deprived conditions, the spread of plasmid R68.45 and similar plasmids by lateral transfer into this particular aquatic population would be a rare event.