Nutrient-enhanced n-alkanes biodegradation and succession of bacterial communities
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Bioremediation, is an effective and environment-friendly method of cleaning up crude oil pollution after an oil spill. However, the in situ bioremediation of crude oil is usually inhibited by deficiency of inorganic nutrients. To understand the effects of nutrient addition on the bioremediation of crude oil and the succession of bacterial communities during process of bioremediation, microcosms containing oil-contaminated sediments were constructed and biodegradation of crude oil was assessed based on the depletion of different ingredients. We used two culture-independent methods, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and a 16S rRNA gene based clone library, to analyze the succession of bacterial communities. The results suggested n-alkanes were degraded after 30 days and that nutrient amendments significantly improved the efficiency of their biodegradation. Moreover, oil contamination and nutrient amendments could dramatically change bacterial community structures. Lower diversity was detected after being contaminated with oil. For instance, bacterial clones affiliated with the phylum Armatimonadetes, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, and Planctomycetes and the class Deltaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria could not be identified after 30 days of incubation with crude oil. However, “professional hydrocarbonocastic bacteria” became abundant in samples treated with oil during the bioremediation period, while these clones were almost completely absent from the control plots. Interestingly, bioinformatics analysis showed that even when dramatic differences in oil biodegradation efficiency were observed, bacterial communities in the plots with nutrient amendments were not significantly different from those in plots treated with oil alone. These findings indicated that nutrient amendments could stimulate the process of biodegradation but had less impact on bacterial communities. Overall, nutrient amendments might be able to stimulate the growth of n-alkane degrading bacteria.
Keywordsbioremediation nutrient-enhanced bacterial communities n-alkane
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We acknowledge critical review of the manuscript by Dr. Roy Bonnette from Southeastern Louisiana University.
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