Author(s): Riis V, Kleinsteuber S, Babel W
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Abstract Microbial communities from three Argentinean saline soils were extracted and tested for their ability to degrade diesel fuel in liquid culture at salinities between 0\% and 25\%. In each case, the degradation process was continuously monitored by measuring oxygen consumption. Two communities (CR1 and CR2) showed nearly equal degrees of degradation across a salinity range of 0\%-10\% (the former degrading about 63\% of the diesel fuel and the latter about 70\% after 53 and 80 d, respectively). Furthermore, the degree of degradation was not significantly lower in the presence of 17.5\% salt (58\% and 65\% degraded, respectively). A third community (El Zorro) showed a maximum turnover at 5\% salt (79\% diesel fuel degraded) and significant degradation (66\%) at a salinity of 10\%. However, the degree of degradation by this community clearly dropped at 0\% and 15\% salt. None of the communities were able to degrade diesel fuel in the presence of 25\% salt, but the living cell counts showed that components of the microbial population survived the long-term exposure. The surviving portion is obviously sufficient to allow substantial restoration of the original community, as verified by the BIOLOG method. Isolates of the CR1 community were identified as members of the genera Cellulomonas, Bacillus, Dietzia, and Halomonas. In light of our investigations, the bioremediation of contaminated saline soils should be quite possible if the salinity of the soil water is lower than 15\% or if it is reduced below this limit by the addition of water.
This article was published in Can J Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics