Distribution of bacterial polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases genes in oilfield soils and mangrove sediments explored by gene-targeted metagenomics

  • Chengyue Liang
  • Yong Huang
  • Yun Wang
  • Quanhui Ye
  • Zuotao Zhang
  • Hui WangEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


PAH ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases (PAH-RHDα) gene, a useful biomarker for PAH-degrading bacteria, has been widely used to examine PAH-degrading bacterial community in different contaminated sites. However, the distribution of PAH-RHDα genes in oilfield soils and mangrove sediments and their relationship with environmental factors still remain largely unclear. In this study, gene-targeted metagenomics was first used to investigate the diversity of PAH-degrading bacterial communities in oilfield soils and mangrove sediments. The results showed that higher diversity of PAH-degrading bacteria in the studied samples was revealed by gene-targeted metagenomics than traditional clone library analysis. Pseudomonas, Burkholderia, Ralstonia, Polymorphum gilvum, Mycobacterium, Sciscionella marina, Rhodococcus, and potential new degraders were prevailed in the oilfield area. For mangrove sediments, novel PAH degraders and Mycobacterium were predominated. The spatial distribution of PAH-RHDα gene was dependent on geographical location and regulated by local environmental variables. PAH content played a key role in shaping PAH-degrading bacterial communities in the studied samples, which would enrich PAH-degrading bacterial population and decrease PAH-degrading bacterial diversity. This work brings a more comprehensive and some new insights into the distribution and biodegradation potential of PAH-degrading bacteria in soil and sediments ecosystems.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Biodegradation PAH ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases Gene-targeted metagenomics PAH-degrading bacteria 



We are very grateful to Dr. Jixia Li and Houlin Jiang for their assistance in environmental samples collection.

Funding information

This research was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41573065 and Grant No. 41773082) and the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment in China (No. 2017ZX07202002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9613_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (389 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 389 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory on Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceShihezi UniversityShiheziChina

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