Using Real-Time PCR to Assess Changes in the Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Community in Antarctic Soil During Bioremediation
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Powell, S.M., Ferguson, S.H., Bowman, J.P. et al. Microb Ecol (2006) 52: 523. doi:10.1007/s00248-006-9131-z
- 924 Downloads
A real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to quantify the proportion of microorganisms containing alkane monooxygenase was developed and used to follow changes in the microbial community in hydrocarbon-contaminated Antarctic soil during a bioremediation field trial. Assays for the alkB and rpoB genes were validated and found to be both sensitive and reproducible (less than 2% intrarun variation and 25–38% interrun variation). Results from the real-time PCR analysis were compared to analysis of the microbial population by a culture-based technique [most probable number (MPN) counts]. Both types of analysis indicated that fertilizer addition to hydrocarbon-contaminated soil stimulated the indigenous bacterial population within 1 year. The proportion of alkB containing microorganisms was positively correlated to the concentration of n-alkanes in the soil. After the concentration of n-alkanes in the soil decreased, the proportion of alkane-degrading microorganisms decreased, but the proportion of total hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms increased, indicating another shift in the microbial community structure and ongoing biodegradation.