Identification and Differentiation of Pseudomonas Species in Field Samples Using an rpoD Amplicon Sequencing Methodology

Jonas Greve Lauritsen, Morten Lindqvist Hansen, Pernille Kjersgaard Bech, Lars Jelsbak, Lone Gram, Mikael Lenz Strube*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Species of the genus Pseudomonas are used for several biotechnological purposes, including plant biocontrol and bioremediation. To exploit the Pseudomonas genus in environmental, agricultural, or industrial settings, the organisms must be profiled at the species level as their bioactivity potential differs markedly between species. Standard 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling does not allow for accurate species differentiation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop an amplicon-based high-resolution method targeting a 760-nucleotide (nt) region of the rpoD gene enabling taxonomic differentiation of Pseudomonas species in soil samples. The method was benchmarked on a 16-member Pseudomonas species mock community. All 16 species were correctly and semiquantitatively identified using rpoD gene amplicons, whereas 16S rRNA V3-V4 amplicon sequencing only correctly identified one species. We analyzed the Pseudomonas profiles in 13 soil samples in northern Zealand, Denmark, where samples were collected from grassland (3 samples) and agriculture soil (10 samples). Pseudomonas species represented up to 0.7% of the 16S rRNA gene abundance, of which each sampling site contained a unique Pseudomonas composition. Thirty culturable Pseudomonas strains were isolated from each grassland site and 10 from each agriculture site and identified by Sanger sequencing of the rpoD gene. In all cases, the rpoD amplicon approach identified more species than were found by cultivation, including hard-to-culture nonfluorescent Pseudomonas, as well as more than were found by 16S rRNA V3-V4 amplicon sequencing. Thus, rpoD profiling can be used for species profiling of Pseudomonas, and large-scale prospecting of bioactive Pseudomonas may be guided by initial screening using this method.

IMPORTANCE A high-throughput sequencing-based method for profiling of Pseudomonas species in soil microbiomes was developed and identified more species than 16S rRNA gene sequencing or cultivation. Pseudomonas species are used as biocontrol organisms and plant growth-promoting agents, and the method will allow tracing of specific species of Pseudomonas as well as enable screening of environmental samples for further isolation and exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00704-21
Issue number4
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Microbiome analysis
  • Pseudomonas
  • Diversity
  • rpoD
  • 16S rRNA
  • Amplicon sequencing


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