Author(s): Yergeau E, Arbour M, Brousseau R, Juck D, Lawrence JR,
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Abstract High-Arctic soils have low nutrient availability, low moisture content, and very low temperatures and, as such, they pose a particular problem in terms of hydrocarbon bioremediation. An in-depth knowledge of the microbiology involved in this process is likely to be crucial to understand and optimize the factors most influencing bioremediation. Here, we compared two distinct large-scale field bioremediation experiments, located at the Canadian high-Arctic stations of Alert (ex situ approach) and Eureka (in situ approach). Bacterial community structure and function were assessed using microarrays targeting the 16S rRNA genes of bacteria found in cold environments and hydrocarbon degradation genes as well as quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR targeting key functional genes. The results indicated a large difference between sampling sites in terms of both soil microbiology and decontamination rates. A rapid reorganization of the bacterial community structure and functional potential as well as rapid increases in the expression of alkane monooxygenases and polyaromatic hydrocarbon-ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases were observed 1 month after the bioremediation treatment commenced in the Alert soils. In contrast, no clear changes in community structure were observed in Eureka soils, while key gene expression increased after a relatively long lag period (1 year). Such discrepancies are likely caused by differences in bioremediation treatments (i.e., ex situ versus in situ), weathering of the hydrocarbons, indigenous microbial communities, and environmental factors such as soil humidity and temperature. In addition, this study demonstrates the value of molecular tools for the monitoring of polar bacteria and their associated functions during bioremediation.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology