Picobenthic cyanobacterial populations revealed by 16S rRNA-targeted in situ hybridization

Raeid M M Abed*, Wilhelm Schönhuber, Rudolf Amann, Ferran Garcia-Pichel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the morphological identification of a population of benthic cyanobacteria from microbial mats, known previously only from molecular analyses of field samples, based on the retrieval of environmental 16S rRNA sequences. We used in situ hybridization with horseradish peroxidase-labelled oligonucleotide probes designed to target the 16S rRNA of our unidentified population. Two probes were designed and checked for target binding ability and specificity using membrane hybridization against electroblotted bands from a denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprint of 16S rDNA gene fragments from the original cyanobacterial community. Under in situ hybridization, these probes bound specifically to extremely small, unicellular, colony-forming cyanobacteria, 0.75-1 μm in diameter, which were embedded in abundant mucilaginous investments. We propose the term picobenthos, by analogy with picoplankton, to describe those unicellular benthic microbes around or less than 1 μm in diameter. Although picoplanktonic cyanobacteria are abundant in ocean and freshwaters, picobenthic (

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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