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High benzene concentrations can favour Gram-positive bacteria in groundwaters from a contaminated aquifer

Fahy, A and Ball, AS and Lethbridge, G and McGenity, TJ and Timmis, KN (2008) 'High benzene concentrations can favour Gram-positive bacteria in groundwaters from a contaminated aquifer.' FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 65 (3). 526 - 533. ISSN 0168-6496

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Abstract

Exposure to pollution exerts strong selective pressure on microbial communities, which may affect their potential to adapt to current or future environmental challenges. In this microcosm study, we used DNA fingerprinting based on 16S rRNA genes to document the impact of high concentrations of benzene on two bacterial communities from a benzene-contaminated aquifer situated below a petrochemical plant (SIReN, UK). The two groundwaters harboured distinct aerobic benzene-degrading communities able to metabolize benzene to below detection levels (1 μg L-1). A benzene concentration of 100 mg L-1 caused a major shift from Betaproteobacteria to Actinobacteria, in particular Arthrobacter spp. A similar shift from Betaproteobacteria to Arthrobacter spp. and Rhodococcus erythropolis was observed in minimal medium (MM) inoculated with a third groundwater. These Gram-positive-dominated communities were able to grow on benzene at concentrations up to 600 mg L -1 in groundwater and up to 1000 mg L-1 in MM, concentrations that cause significant solvent stress to cellular systems. Therefore, Gram-positive bacteria were better competitors than Gram-negative organisms under experimental conditions of high benzene loads, which suggests that solvent-tolerant Gram-positive bacteria can play a role in the natural attenuation of benzene or the remediation of contaminated sites. © 2008 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Life Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2011 13:16
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2019 21:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/866

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