Diversity of bacterial isolates from commercial and homemade composts

Ivone Vaz-Moreira, Maria E. Silva, Célia M. Manaia, Olga C. Nunes

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The diversity of heterotrophic bacterial isolates of three commercial and two homemade composts was studied. The commercial composts were produced from poultry litter (PC), sewage sludge (SC), municipal solid waste (MC), and homemade composts (thermal compost [DC] and vermicompost [VC]) from food wastes. The taxonomic and physiological diversity of the heterotrophic culturable bacteria was assessed using phenotypic and genotypic characterization and the analysis of the partial 16S rRNA gene sequence. Composts DC and SC presented the higher genotypic diversity, as could be inferred from the number of distinct genotypic patterns observed, 28 and 21, respectively. Gram-positive bacteria, mainly Firmicutes, were predominant in all the composts. Some organisms related with taxa rarely reported in composts, as Rhodanobacter spathiphylli, Moraxella osloensis, Lysobacter, Corynebacterium, Pigmentiphaga kullae, and new taxa were also isolated. The highest relative proportion of isolates able to degrade starch was found in compost SC (>70%), to degrade gelatine in compost DC (>70%), to degrade Tween 80 in compost PC (>90%), and to degrade poly-epsilon-caprolactones in compost DC (>80%). Compost MC presented the lowest relative proportions of isolates able to degrade starch (<25%), gelatine (<20%), and poly-epsilon-caprolactone (<40%). When compared with the others, the homemade composts presented higher relative proportions of Gram-positive isolates able to inhibit the target organisms Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In compost MC, none of the Gram-positive isolates was able to inhibit those targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-722
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


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