Microbial Ecology

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 461–473 | Cite as

Spatial Heterogeneity of Bacterial Communities in Sediments from an Infiltration Basin Receiving Highway Runoff

  • Camelia RotaruEmail author
  • Trevor L. Woodard
  • Seokyoon Choi
  • Kelly P. Nevin
Soil Microbiology


The bacterial community diversity of highway runoff-contaminated sediment that had undergone 19 years of acetate-based de-icing agents addition followed by three years of acetate-free de-icing agents was investigated. Analysis of 26 sediment samples from two drilled soil cores by means of 16S rDNA PCR generated 3,402 clones, indicating an overall high bacterial diversity, with no prominent members within the communities. Sequence analyses provided evidences that each sediment sample displayed a specific structure bacterial community. Proteobacteria-affiliated clones (58% and 43% for the two boreholes) predominated in all samples, followed by Actinobacteria (12% and 16%), Firmicutes (7% and 12%) and Chloroflexi (7% and 11%). The subsurface geochemistry complemented the molecular methods to further distinguish ambient and contaminant plume zones. Principal component analysis revealed that the levels of Fe(II) and dissolved oxygen were strongly correlated with bacterial communities. At elevated Fe(II) levels, sequences associated with anaerobic bacteria were detected in high levels. As iron levels declined and oxygen levels increased below the plume bottom, there was a gradual shift in the community structure toward the increase of aerobic bacteria.


Bacterial Community Total Organic Carbon Sediment Sample Clone Library Proteobacteria 
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.



The authors would like to thank Joy Ward for PCR sequencing, Dr. Chul Park for TOC and COD analyses, and Dr. Don J. DeGroot for technical support during field sampling. This research was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division (MassDOT) under Interagency Service Agreement No. 56565. The views, opinions, and findings contained in this paper are those of its authors, and do not necessarily reflect the official view or policies of the MassDOT.

Supplementary material

248_2012_26_MOESM1_ESM.xls (90 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 89.5 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Camelia Rotaru
    • 1
    Email author
  • Trevor L. Woodard
    • 2
  • Seokyoon Choi
    • 1
  • Kelly P. Nevin
    • 2
  1. 1.Civil and Environmental Engineering DepartmentUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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