Identifying polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in oil-contaminated surface waters at Deepwater Horizon by cultivation, stable isotope probing and pyrosequencing
- 626 Downloads
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are an important class of chemical pollutants that constitute a major component of total hydrocarbons in crude oils. Based on their poor water solubility, toxicity, persistence and potential to bioaccumulate, these compounds are recognized as high-priority pollutants in the environment and are of significant concern for human health. At oil-contaminated sites, PAH-degrading bacteria perform a critical role in the degradation and ultimate removal of these compounds. In April 2010, enormous quantities of PAHs entered the Gulf of Mexico from the thousands of tons of oil that were released from the ill-fated drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. In the ensuing months after the spill, intense research efforts were devoted to characterizing the microorganisms responsible for degrading the oil, particularly in deep waters where a large oil plume, enriched with aliphatic and low molecular-weight aromatic hydrocarbons, was found in the range of 1,000–1,300 m. PAHs, however, were found mainly confined to surface waters. This paper discusses efforts utilizing DNA-based stable isotope probing, cultivation-based techniques and metagenomics to characterize the bacterial guild associated with PAH degradation in oil-contaminated surface waters at Deepwater Horizon.
KeywordsPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Deepwater Horizon DNA-based stable isotope probing (DNA-SIP) Bioremediation Crude oil
The author acknowledges the OIF Marie Curie Fellowship, http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/mariecurieactions/home_en.html and help from the Marie Curie Fellowship Association, http://mcfa.eu/.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2007) CERCLA Priority List of Hazardous Substances [Online]. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/cercla/07list.html
- Camilli R, Reddy CM, Yoerger DR, Van Mooy BAS, Jakuba MV, Kinsey JC, McIntyre CP, Sylva SP, Maloney JV (2010) Tracking hydrocarbon plume transport and biodegradation at deepwater horizon. Science 330:201–204Google Scholar
- Diercks A-R, Highsmith RC, Asper VL, Joung DJ, Zhou Z, Guo L, Shiller AM, Joye SB, Teske AP, Guinasso N, Wade TL, Lohrenz SE (2010) Characterization of subsurface polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at the deepwater horizon site. Geophys Res Lett 37:L20602Google Scholar
- Hazen TC, Dubinsky EA, DeSantis TZ et al (2010) Deep-sea oil plume enriches indigenous oil-degrading bacteria. Science 330:204–208Google Scholar
- Jernelöv A, Lindén O (1981) Ixtoc I: a case study of the world’s largest oil spill. Ambio 10:299–306Google Scholar
- Lubchenco J, McNutt M, Lehr B, Sogge M, Miller M, Hammond S, Conner W (2010) BP deepwater horizon oil budget: what happened to the oil? national incident command [Online] National incident command, 4 8 2010. http://www.restorethegulf.gov/sites/default/files/imported_pdfs/posted/2931/Oil_Budget_description_8_3_FINAL.844091.pdf
- Oil Tanker Spill Statistics (2009) The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation [Online]. http://www.itopf.com/information-services/data-and-statistics/statistics/documents/Statspack2009-FINAL.pdf