Microorganisms degrading phenolic compounds play an important role in soil carbon cycling as well as in pesticide degradation. The pcaH gene encoding a key ring-cleaving enzyme of the β-ketoadipate pathway was selected as a functional marker. Using a degenerate primer pair, pcaH fragments were cloned from two agricultural soils. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) screening of 150 pcaH clones yielded 68 RFLP families. Comparison of 86 deduced amino acid sequences displayed 70% identity to known PcaH sequences. Phylogenetic analysis results in two major groups mainly related to PcaH sequences from Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria phyla. This confirms that the developed primer pair targets a wide diversity of pcaH sequences, thereby constituting a suitable molecular marker to estimate the response of the pca community to agricultural practices.
- protocatechuate 3,4-dioxygenase
- bacterial community
- soil DNA