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Characterisation of biofilm and planktonic bacterial and fungal communities transforming high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Folwell, BD and McGenity, TJ and Whitby, C (2016) 'Characterisation of biofilm and planktonic bacterial and fungal communities transforming high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.' Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82 (8). 2288 - 2299. ISSN 0099-2240

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Abstract

High molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HMW-PAHs) are natural components of fossil fuels that are carcinogenic and persistent in the environment, particularly in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). Their hydrophobicity and tendency to adsorb to organic matter result in low bioavailability and high recalcitrance to degradation. Despite the importance of microbes for environmental remediation, little is known about those involved in HMW-PAH transformations. Here, we investigated the transformation of HMW-PAHs using samples of OSPW, and compared the bacterial and fungal community composition attached to hydrophobic filters and in suspension. It was anticipated that the hydrophobic filters with sorbed HMW-PAHs would select for microbes that specialise in adhesion. Over 33 days more pyrene was removed (75% ± 11.7) than the five-ring PAHs benzo[a]pyrene (44% ± 13.6) and benzo[b]fluoranthene (41% ± 12.6). For both bacteria and fungi, the addition of PAHs led to a shift in community composition, but thereafter the major factor determining the fungal community composition was whether they were in the planktonic phase or attached to filters. In contrast, the major determinant of the bacterial community composition was the nature of the PAH serving as the carbon source. The main bacteria enriched by HMW-PAHs were Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Microbacterium species. This report demonstrates that OSPW harbour microbial communities with the capacity to transform HMW-PAHs. Furthermore, the provision of suitable surfaces that encourage PAH sorption and microbial adhesion select for different fungal and bacterial species with the potential for HMW-PAH degradation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2018 11:10
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2018 11:10
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22580

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