The importance of culturing bacterioplankton in the 'omics' age

Stephen Giovannoni*, Ulrich Stingl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


Progress in the culturing of microorganisms that are important to ocean ecology has recently accelerated, and technology has been a factor in these advances. However, rather than a single technological breakthrough, a combination of methods now enable microbiologists to screen large numbers of cultures and manipulate cells that are growing at the low biomass densities that are characteristic of those found in seawater. The value of ribosomal RNA databases has been reaffirmed, as they provide nucleic-acid probes for screening to identify important new species in culture. The new cultivation approaches have focused on specific targets that ecological studies suggest are significant for geochemical transformations, such as SAR11. Here, we review how to cultivate marine oligotrophs and why it is worth the effort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-826
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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