The abstract of Transformation of Acinetobacter baylyi in non-sterile soil using recombinant plant nuclear DNA, by Simpson et al., 2007:
To provide estimates of horizontal gene transfer from transgenic crops to indigenous soil bacteria, transformation frequencies were obtained for naturally transformable Acinetobacter baylyi BD413 using a chromosomally integrated plant transgene. The transgene comprised sequences for two phenotypic markers: kanamycin resistance (npt II) and green fluorescent protein (gfp), expressed from their own bacterial promoters. Recipient bacteria carried a copy of these two genes, with deletions in their 3'-termini abolishing the marker activity, these genes were integrated into a 16S rRNA gene in the bacterial chromosomal genome or carried on a broad host range plasmid. Successful recombination between the plant transgene and the bacterial genome resulted in restoration of the markers, allowing detection through antibiotic selection and fluorescence. Transformation parameters of increasing complexity, without any enrichment steps, were used to approach the field conditions, while still obtaining measurable transformation frequencies. In pure culture filter experiments, transformation was detected using ground, chopped and whole leaves, as well as whole sterile seedlings, and ground roots. In sterile soil microcosms, transformation was detected using pure plant DNA (3.6 × 10-8 transformants per recipient) and ground leaves (2.5 × 10-11). Transformation was also detected for the first time in non-sterile soil using pure plant DNA (5.5 × 10-11). Since the same constructs were used throughout, these data allow predictions of even more complex environmental systems where measurable frequencies are not easily obtainable.
What is the meaning of pure plant DNA? That the transferred DNA was in the form of purified DNA solution dripped onto soil, as opposed to some ground leaves whose cells included donor DNA (and some of these cells were crushed while being grounded and thus shed some DNA material onto soil)?
Was it done in order to promote transformation?