Development of a sensitive and rapid method for the measurement of total microbial activity using fluorescein diacetate (FDA) in a range of soils

Adam, G. and Duncan, H. (2001) Development of a sensitive and rapid method for the measurement of total microbial activity using fluorescein diacetate (FDA) in a range of soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 33(7-8), pp. 943-951. (doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(00)00244-3)

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Fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis is widely accepted as an accurate and simple method for measuring total microbial activity in a range of environmental samples, including soils. Colourless fluorescein diacetate is hydrolysed by both free and membrane bound enzymes, releasing a coloured end product fluorescein which can be measured by spectrophotometry. The current method for measuring FDA hydrolysis in soils is limited in its application. FDA activity was very low in sandy and clayey soils. The low activity observed for these soil types was made difficult to measure by the original authors choice of solvent for terminating the hydrolysis reaction. Acetone (50% v/v) was found to be most efficient at stopping the hydrolysis reaction. During this study acetone (50% v/v) was found to cause a decrease of approximately 37% in the absorbance of fluorescein produced by the soil samples measured. Although this colour loss is independent of initial fluorescein concentration, it makes the measurement of FDA hydrolytic activity extremely difficult in soils with low microbial activity i.e. sandy and/or clayey soils. Chloroform/methanol (2:1 v/v) was found to successfully stop the hydrolysis reaction for up to 50 min in a range of soil samples without causing the loss of colour observed with acetone. By changing the solvent used for terminating the hydrolysis reaction, low activity soils could be measured successfully. Other parameters of the hydrolysis reaction were optimised for the measurement of soil samples including effect of pH. optimum temperature of incubation, amount of soil, time of incubation, amount of substrate and preparation of suitable standards. A new, more sensitive method is proposed adapted from the original method, which provides a more accurate determination of FDA hydrolysis in a wide range of soils.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:MacKinnon, Dr Gillian
Authors: Adam, G., and Duncan, H.
Subjects:S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Publisher:Elsevier Science Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1879-3428
Published Online:09 May 2001
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
First Published:First published in Soil Biology and Biochemistry 35(7-8):943-951
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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