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Microbial Ecology

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 523–532 | Cite as

Using Real-Time PCR to Assess Changes in the Hydrocarbon-Degrading Microbial Community in Antarctic Soil During Bioremediation

  • Shane M. PowellEmail author
  • Susan H. Ferguson
  • John P. Bowman
  • Ian Snape
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Much Probable Number rpoB Gene Antarctic Soil alkB Gene Competitive Polymerase Chain Reaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Paul McA. Harvey (Australian Antarctic Division) for carrying out the chemical analysis of the soil samples. This work was supported by AAS grant 1163.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shane M. Powell
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Susan H. Ferguson
    • 2
  • John P. Bowman
    • 1
  • Ian Snape
    • 2
  1. 1.Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Heritage and EnvironmentAustralian Antarctic DivisionKingstonAustralia

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