Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Identification of soil bacteria able to degrade phenanthrene bound to a hydrophobic sorbent in situ.

PMID 23770314


Efficient bioremediation of PAH-contaminated sites is limited by the hydrophobic character and poor bioavailability of pollutants. In this study, stable isotope probing (SIP) was implemented to track bacteria that can degrade PAHs adsorbed on hydrophobic sorbents. Temperate and tropical soils were incubated with (13)C-labeled phenanthrene, supplied by spiking or coated onto membranes. Phenanthrene mineralization was faster in microcosms with PAH-coated membranes than in microcosms containing spiked soil. Upon incubation with temperate soil, phenanthrene degraders found in the biofilms that formed on coated membranes were mainly identified as Sphingomonadaceae and Actinobacteria. In the tropical soil, uncultured Rhodocyclaceae dominated degraders bound to membranes. Accordingly, ring-hydroxylating dioxygenase sequences recovered from this soil matched PAH-specific dioxygenase genes recently found in Rhodocyclaceae. Hence, our SIP approach allowed the detection of novel degraders, mostly uncultured, which differ from those detected after soil spiking, but might play a key role in the bioremediation of PAH-polluted soils.