A tripartite microbial reporter gene system for real-time assays of soil nutrient status.

Andrew Alexander Meharg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Plant-derived carbon is the substrate which drives the rate of microbial assimilation and turnover of nutrients, in particular N and P, within the rhizosphere. To develop a better understanding of rhizosphere dynamics. a tripartite reporter gene system has been developed. We used three lux-marked Pseudomonas fluorescens strains to report on soil (1) assimilable carbon, (2) N-status, and (3) P-status. In vivo studies using soil water. spiked with C. N and P to simulate rhizosphere conditions, showed that the tripartite reporter system can provide real-time assessment of carbon and nutrient status. Good quantitative agreement for bioluminescence output between reference material and soil water samples was found for the C and P reporters. With regard to soil nitrate, the minimum bioavailable concentration was found to be greater than that analytically detectable in soil water. This is the First time that bioavailable soil C, N and P have been quantified using a tripartite reporter gene system. (C) 2003 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages4
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Pseudomonas fluorescens DF57 N3
  • P. fluorescens DF57 P9
  • reporter gene
  • bio-available nutrients


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