The establishment of the global microbial resources

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The establishment of the global Microbial Resources Centers (MIRCEN) network by the United Nations Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is one of the major results of renewed interests in microbial diversity. The objectives of MIRCEN include the provision of a global infrastructure that incorporates national, regional, and inter- regional cooperating laboratories geared to the management, distribution, and utilization of the microbial gene pools; reinforcing the conservation of microorganisms, with emphasis OGU11 8/14/04 11:52 AM Page 238
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Global environmental issues CHAPTER 11 239 (a) (b) (c) Fig. 11.6 Exposure of microbial communities to potentially toxic environmental pollutants tends to reduce the spectrum of microbial diversity, as demonstrated in (a) with DGGE conducted on samples collected along a transect at various distances from the center of a petrochemical pollution plume (0m, and “under”). A high level of variation in band position occurs outside the plume, and the band positions are relatively similar within the plume zones (boxes). (b) shows the results of phylogenetic identification of specific bands resolved from samples collected at - 20, 0, and 6m along the transect. The solid, hatched, and hollow arrows represent organisms that use nitrate, iron (III), and sulfate as terminal electron acceptors, respectively. All the iron (III) reducers belong to the family Geobacteriaceae , and these are the only organisms in these systems that were shown to degrade the petrochemicals benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. Members of the Geobacteriaceae within the plume are extremely diverse as shown by fine-scale DGGE results for 14 isolates in (c). The dendogram on the right side of the panel shows that the 14 isolates can be placed into only seven phylogenetic groups. Data credit to Wilfred Roling and Komang Ralebitso-Senior at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. OGU11 8/14/04 11:52 AM Page 239
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240 PART II Principles and applications on Rhizobium gene pools, in developing countries with an agrarian base; fostering the devel- opment of new inexpensive technologies native to specific regions of the world; promoting the economic and environmental applications of microbiology; and establishing focal centers in the network for the training of microbiology research staff. There are 32 MIRCENs distributed globally (Fig. 11.7). Several countries also maintain microbial conservation centers. The largest and best known of these is the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC; SearchCatalogs/tasc2.cfm). The idea for ATCC was proposed in 1925 by a committee of scientists who recognized the need for a central collection of microorganisms that would serve scientists all over the world. The current ATCC facility is equipped with Biosafety Levels 2 and 3 containment stations for processing extremely pathogenic microorganisms. The ATCC collection of bacteria is the most diversified assemblage of prokaryotes in the world, containing nearly 18,000 strains in more than 750 genera. The bac- teria collection represents every important prokaryotic physiological group, including more than 3,600 type cultures of validly described species, and approximately 500 bacteriophages.
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