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Bioremediation and monitoring of aromatic-polluted habitats

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Bioremediation may restore contaminated soils through the broad biodegradative capabilities evolved by microorganisms towards undesirable organic compounds. Understanding bioremediation and its effectiveness is rapidly advancing, bringing available molecular approaches for examining the presence and expression of the key genes involved in microbial processes. These methods are continuously improving and require further development and validation of primer- and probe-based analyses and expansion of databases for alternative microbial markers. Phylogenetic marker approaches provide tools to determine which organisms are present or generally active in a community; functional gene markers provide only information concerning the distribution or transcript levels (deoxyribonucleic acid [DNA]- or messenger ribonucleic acid [mRNA]-based approaches) of specific gene populations across environmental gradients. Stable isotope probing methods offer great potential to identify microorganisms that metabolize and assimilate specific substrates in environmental samples, incorporating usually a rare isotope (i.e., 13C) into their DNA and RNA. DNA and RNA in situ characterization allows the determination of the species actually involved in the processes being measured. DNA microarrays may analyze the expression of thousands of genes in a soil simultaneously. A global analysis of which genes are being expressed under various conditions in contaminated soils will reveal the metabolic status of microorganisms and indicate environmental modifications accelerating bioremediation.

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This research was supported by Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca, Italy, Programmi di Interesse Nazionale PRIN 2004–2005 and Piano Nazionale Biotecnologie Vegetali, Research Area “Useful Microorganisms”, MIPA, Italy. DiSSPA Contribution no. 145

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Correspondence to Liliana Gianfreda.

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Andreoni, V., Gianfreda, L. Bioremediation and monitoring of aromatic-polluted habitats. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 76, 287–308 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-007-1018-5

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  • PAHs
  • BTEX
  • Bioremediation
  • Molecular approaches
  • Monitoring
  • Soil quality