SUMMARY: Genetic transformation at the solid/liquid interface was studied using 1G20 () with a flow-through system of columns filled with chemically pure sea sand. Studies were done at 23 °C. In one type of experiment, competent cultures were incubated with sand-adsorbed DNA, and in another, competent cultures were exposed to sand and then incubated with dissolved DNA for transformation. Of the applied cells, around 10% were retained in columns filled with DNA-loaded sand and around 1% in columns with pure sand. Reversible attachment of some of the cells to surfaces of sand grains could be demonstrated. The overall transformation frequencies obtained were 25- to 50-fold higher than in a standard liquid culture procedure. In this standard procedure, transformation was sensitive to DNAase I concentrations above 50 ng ml, whereas in sand columns it was resistant to DNAase I concentrations up to 1 μg ml. Quantification of transformants eluting from columns indicated that sand-attached cells detach at some point after DNA binding or uptake.


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