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Title: Exploring hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial communities in the estuarine surface microlayer
Author: Coelho, Francisco J. R. C.
Sousa, Sara
Santos, Luísa
Santos, Ana L.
Almeida, Adelaide
Gomes, Newton C. M.
Cunha, Ângela
Keywords: Sea surface microlayer
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
PAH degradation
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Inter Research
Abstract: Bacteria that degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the estuarine surface microlayer (SML) of the Ria de Aveiro, Portugal—which is chronically polluted with oil hydrocarbons (OH)—were isolated and characterized; Pseudomonas was dominant among the PAH-degrading bacteria. Screening for PAH dioxygenase genes detected almost identical nahAc genes (encoding the alpha subunits of naphthalene dioxygenase) in 2 phylogenetically distinct isolates: Pseudomonas sp. and an unknown species of the family Enterobacteriaceae; this suggested that horizontal transfer of nah genes might be involved in PAH degradation in the SML. We also investigated the effect of PAH contamination on the spatial variability of the bacterioneuston along a gradient of pollution in the estuarine system of the Ria de Aveiro. Culture-independent techniques—fluorescence in situ hy - bridization (FISH) and denaturing-gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)—revealed a similar structure among the bacterioneuston communities along the estuary. In contrast, we detected differences in the relative abundance and diversity of organisms of the Gammaproteobacteria, including those of the genus Pseudomonas (which belongs to the Gammaproteobacteria). This is the first insight into the hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial communities in the SML of an estuarine area polluted with hydrocarbons. Our findings highlight the importance of SML-adapted hydrocarbonoclastic bacterioneuston as a potential source of new PAH-degrading bacteria (including new pseudomonads) with potential use in the bioremediation of hydrocarbon-polluted ecosystems.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.3354/ame01526
ISSN: 0948-3055
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos
Ria de Aveiro - Artigos

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