Copper effect in petroleum hydrocarbons biodegradation by microorganisms associated to Juncus maritimus: role of autochthonous bioaugmentation

  • I. P. F. M. Montenegro
  • A. P. Mucha
  • I. Reis
  • P. Rodrigues
  • C. M. R. Almeida
Original Paper


The bioremediation potential of microorganisms from a saltmarsh plant rhizosphere and application of bioaugmentation in estuarine sediment co-contaminated were investigated. Rhizosediment (sediment in contact with plant roots) of Juncus maritimus was contaminated with copper and/or petroleum, inoculated with different autochthonous microbial consortia (resistant to copper and/or with petroleum degraders) and put in vessels to which plants were transplanted. Vessels were irrigated through a system that simulated estuarine tides. After 5 months, vessels were dismantled and copper and petroleum content in rhizosediments were determined. Copper’s presence reduced the potential of the microorganisms associated to J. maritimus rhizosphere for bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in co-contaminated sediment. Indeed, hydrocarbons removal decreased from 39 to 25% when copper was present. In addition, bioaugmentation was not effective to overcome metal negative effects on petroleum hydrocarbons degradation, and the same removal rate was being observed (ca. 25%). Different methodologies for the formulation of consortia must be tested in this situation of co-contamination. Obtained results should be taken in consideration when planning the recovery of moderately impacted estuaries, aiming an effective protection and management of these areas, in the case of co-contamination.


Bioremediation Co-contaminated soil Estuarine environment Saltmarsh plants 



To Rayra Santiago, Tânia Oliveira, Tatiana Necrasov, Catarina Magalhães for their help in the experiments assembling and dismantling of the vessels. This research was partially supported by the Strategic Funding UID/Multi/04423/2013 through national funds provided by FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in the framework of the programme PT2020 and by the structured Program of R&D&I INNOVMAR—Innovation and Sustainability in the Management and Exploitation of Marine Resources, reference NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000035, namely within the Research Line ECOSERVICES (Assessing the environmental quality, vulnerability and risks for the sustainable management of the NW coast natural resources and ecosystem services in a changing world) within the R&D Institution CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research), supported by the Northern Regional Operational Programme (NORTE2020), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 385 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. P. F. M. Montenegro
    • 1
  • A. P. Mucha
    • 1
  • I. Reis
    • 1
  • P. Rodrigues
    • 1
  • C. M. R. Almeida
    • 1
  1. 1.CIMAR/CIIMAR - Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e AmbientalUniversidade do PortoMatosinhosPortugal

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