Non-destructive sampling of rock-dwelling microbial communities using sterile adhesive tape

Cutler, Nick A.; Oliver, Anna E.; Viles, Heather A.; Whiteley, Andrew S.. 2012 Non-destructive sampling of rock-dwelling microbial communities using sterile adhesive tape. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 91 (3). 391-398.

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Building stone provides a habitat for an array of microorganisms, many of which have been demonstrated to have a deleterious effect on the appearance and/or structural integrity of stone masonry. It is essential to understand the composition and structure of stone-dwelling (lithobiontic) microbial communities if successful stone conservation strategies are to be applied, particularly in the face of global environmental change. Ideally, the techniques used to sample such assemblages should be non-destructive due to the sensitive conservation status of many stone buildings. This paper quantitatively assesses the performance of sterile adhesive tape as a non-destructive sampling technique and compares the results of tape sampling with an alternative, destructive, sampling method. We used DNA fingerprinting (TRFLP) to characterise the algal, fungal and bacterial communities living on a stone slab. Our results demonstrate that tape sampling may be used to collect viable quantities of microbial DNA from environmental samples. This technique is ideally suited to the sampling of microbial biofilms, particularly when these communities are dominated by green algae. It provides a good approximation of total community diversity (i.e. the aggregate diversity of epilithic and endolithic communities). Tape sampling is straightforward, rapid and cost effective. When combined with molecular analytical techniques, this sampling method has the potential to make a major contribution to efforts to understand the structure of lithobiontic microbial communities and our ability to predict the response of such communities to future environmental change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hails
ISSN: 0167-7012
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Microbiological Methods. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Microbiological Methods, 91 (3). 391-398. 10.1016/j.mimet.2012.09.022
Additional Keywords: microbial biofilms, epilithic and endolithic microbial communities, green algae, TRFLP
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 19 Oct 2012 10:55 +0 (UTC)

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