BISC209/F13: Assignment 209 GPCA

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Revision as of 22:19, 12 September 2013

Wellesley College- BISC209 Microbiology- Fall 2013

The Great Plate Count Anomaly

Due prior to Lab 4.
Advances in molecular tools for gene sequencing and in other types of microorganism identification have dramatically expanded our knowledge of the contribution of microbes in their (and our) environment. It is estimated that 99.9% of microbes are "unculturable" - that is, currently not able to be cultured by traditional methods! The large number of these uncultured bacteria are responsible for the, so-called, "Great Plate Count Anomaly": the recognition that many more bacteria are present than appear as colonies on agar plates. Culture-independent estimates of the number of bacteria in a gram of soil are 109 - this is several hundred to 9,000 orders of magnitude greater than the number derived from culture-dependent methods. It has been speculated that there might be 10 billion species of bacteria on Earth!

Please write an ~ 1000 word review of "The Great Plate Count Anomaly" in the context of soil microbiology with formally cited references. Include a reference page with full citation information for all sources. Please use the journal Cell's references-citation format. Model it exactly. Attention to detail matters. The Lab WIKI will provide you with links or pdf files of some published research reports in Cell for modeling formatting. You may use these or find your own as models of how, where, and when to cite. As always, see your instructor for guidance if you have questions or problems.

Include the history of the "Great Plate Count Anomaly" (the disparity between enumerating culturable and unculturable soil community microorganisms). Two important references are supplied for you here:  : | THE UNCULTURED MICROBIAL MAJORITY. Rappe & Giovannoni. 2003. Annual Review of Microbiology. Vol. 57: 369-394. First published online as a Review available through the Wellesley College Library and | Uncultivated Microorganisms by Slava Epstein in Microbiology Monographs Vol. 10, 2009 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-85465-4 available as an e-book through Springerlink at the Wellesley College Library or as a pdf file in the Resources section of the lab Sakai site.

Good luck.
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