Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) biodegradation potential and diversity of microbial consortia enriched from tsunami sediments in Miyagi, Japan

Hernando Pactao Bacosa, Chihiro Inoue
Journal of Hazardous Materials 2015, 283: 689-97
The Great East Japan Earthquake caused tsunamis and resulted in widespread damage to human life and infrastructure. The disaster also resulted in contamination of the environment by chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This study was conducted to investigate the degradation potential and describe the PAH-degrading microbial communities from tsunami sediments in Miyagi, Japan. PAH-degrading bacteria were cultured by enrichment using PAH mixture or pyrene alone as carbon and energy sources. Among the ten consortia tested for PAH mixture, seven completely degraded fluorene and more than 95% of phenanthrene in 10 days, while only four consortia partially degraded pyrene. Six consortia partially degraded pyrene as a single substrate. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) revealed that each sample was dominated by unique microbial populations, regardless of sampling location. The consortia were dominated by known PAHs degraders including Sphingomonas, Pseudomonas, and Sphingobium; and previously unknown degraders such as Dokdonella and Luteimonas. A potentially novel and PAH-degrading Dokdonella was detected for the first time. PAH-ring hydroxylating dioxygenase (PAH-RHDα) gene was shown to be more effective than nidA in estimating pyrene-degrading bacteria in the enriched consortia. The consortia obtained in this study are potential candidates for remediation of PAHs contaminated soils.

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