Evaluation of soil bioremediation techniques in an aged diesel spill at the Antarctic Peninsula

Abstract

Many areas on the Antarctic continent already suffer from the direct and indirect influences of human activities. The main cause of contamination is petroleum hydrocarbons because this compound is used as a source of energy at the many research stations around the continent. Thus, the current study aims to evaluate treatments for bioremediation (biostimulation, bioaugmentation, and bioaugmentation + biostimulation) using soils from around the Brazilian Antarctic Station “Comandante Ferraz” (EACF), King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula. The experiment lasted for 45 days, and at the end of this period, chemical and molecular analyses were performed. Those analyses included the quantification of carbon and nitrogen, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis (with gradient denaturation), real-time PCR, and quantification of total hydrocarbons and polyaromatics. Molecular tests evaluated changes in the profile and quantity of the rrs genes of archaea and bacteria and also the alkB gene. The influence of the treatments tested was directly related to the type of soil used. The work confirmed that despite the extreme conditions found in Antarctic soils, the bacterial strains degraded hydrocarbons and bioremediation treatments directly influenced the microbial communities present in these soils even in short periods. Although the majority of the previous studies demonstrate that the addition of fertilizer seems to be most effective at promoting bioremediation, our results show that for some conditions, autochthonous bioaugmentation (ABA) treatment is indicated. This work highlights the importance of understanding the processes of recovery of contaminated environments in polar regions because time is crucial to the soil recovery and to choosing the appropriate treatment.

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Acknowledgments

This work integrates the National Institute of Science and Technology Antarctic Environmental Research (INCT-APA) that receives scientific and financial support from the National Council for Research and Development (CNPq process: no. 574018/2008-5) and Carlos Chagas Research Support Foundation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ). The authors also acknowledge the support of the Brazilian Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), of Environment (MMA) and Inter-Ministry Commission for Sea Resources (CIRM).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Alexandre S. Rosado.

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de Jesus, H.E., Peixoto, R.S., Cury, J.C. et al. Evaluation of soil bioremediation techniques in an aged diesel spill at the Antarctic Peninsula. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 99, 10815–10827 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-015-6919-0

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Keywords

  • Soil
  • Bioremediation
  • Antarctica
  • Diesel