A quantitative method was developed for estimating Gordona mass in activated sludge foam and mixed liquor samples. The technique involves in situ hybridization with a genus-specific fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide probe calibrated on pure cultures of Gordona. The immunofluorescent technique of Hernandez et al. was modified to allow staining with fluorescently labeled antibody and hybridization probes. The results of this technique were compared to those from membrane hybridization studies using radioactively-labeled oligonucleotide probes. Quantitative membrane hybridizations, in situ hybridizations, and antibody staining resulted in significantly different levels of Gordona in activated sludge foam, activated sludge mixed liquor, return activated sludge, and anaerobic digester sludge. Simultaneous staining with labeled antibodies and oligonucleotide probes provide a definitive identification for Gordona, and represents a new approach for in situ studies of this organism's role in foaming.

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