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Dollhofer, Veronika; Callaghan, Tony Martin; Dorn-In, Samart; Bauer, Johann and Lebuhn, Michael (2016): Development of three specific PCR-based tools to determine quantity, cellulolytic transcriptional activity and phylogeny of anaerobic fungi. In: Journal of Microbiological Methods, Vol. 127: pp. 28-40

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Anaerobic fungi (AF) decompose plant material with their rhizoid and multiple cellulolytic enzymes. They disintegrate the complex structure of lignocellulosic substrates, making them more accessible and suitable for further microbial degradation. There is also much interest in their use as biocatalysts for biotechnological applications. Here, three novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for detecting AF and their transcriptional activity in in vitro cultures and environmental samples were developed. Two real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR)-based methods targeting AF were developed: AF-SSU, was designed to quantify the 18S rRNA genes of AF. AF Endo, measuring transcripts of an endoglucanase gene from the glycoside hydrolase family 5 (GH5), was developed to quantify their transcriptional cellulolytic activity. The third PCR based approach was designed for phylogenetical analysis. It targets the 28S rRNA gene (LSU) of AF revealing their phylogenetic affiliation. The in silico-designed primer/probe combinations were successfully tested for the specific amplification of AF from animal and biogas plant derived samples. In combination, these three methods represent useful tools for the analysis of AF transcriptional cellulolytic activity, their abundance and their phylogenetic placement. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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