, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 2977-2987
Date: 30 Oct 2013

Low impact of phenanthrene dissipation on the bacterial community in grassland soil

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The effect of phenanthrene on the bacterial community was studied on permanent grassland soil historically presenting low contamination (i.e. less than 1 mg kg−1) by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Microcosms of soil were spiked with phenanthrene at 300 mg kg−1. After 30 days of incubation, the phenanthrene concentration decreased rapidly until its total dissipation within 90 days. During this incubation period, significant changes of the total bacterial community diversity were observed, as assessed by automated-ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis fingerprinting. In order to get a deeper view of the effect of phenanthrene on the bacterial community, the abundances of ten phyla and classes (Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, Verrucomicrobiales, Gemmatimonadetes, and Planctomycetes) were monitored by quantitative polymerase chain reaction performed on soil DNA extracts. Interestingly, abundances of some bacterial taxa significantly changed as compared with controls. Moreover, among these bacterial groups impacted by phenanthrene spiking, some of them presented the potential of phenanthrene degradation, as assessed by PAH-ring hydroxylating dioxygenase (PAH-RHDα) gene detection. However, neither the abundance nor the diversity of the PAH-RHDα genes was significantly impacted by phenanthrene spiking, highlighting the low impact of this organic contaminant on the functional bacterial diversities in grassland soil.

Responsible editor: Robert Duran