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Insights into microbial communities mediating the bioremediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil from an Alpine former military site

Siles, JoséA., Margesin, Rosa
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.10 pp. 4409-4421
Archaea, Bacteroidia, NPK fertilizers, bacterial communities, bioremediation, decontamination, fertilizer application, fungal communities, gamma-Proteobacteria, military lands, petroleum, polluted soils, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, soil microorganisms, species diversity, temperature
The study of microbial communities involved in soil bioremediation is important to identify the specific microbial characteristics that determine improved decontamination rates. Here, we characterized bacterial, archaeal, and fungal communities in terms of (i) abundance (using quantitative PCR) and (ii) taxonomic diversity and structure (using Illumina amplicon sequencing) during the bioremediation of long-term hydrocarbon-contaminated soil from an Alpine former military site during 15 weeks comparing biostimulation (inorganic NPK fertilization) vs. natural attenuation and considering the effect of temperature (10 vs. 20 °C). Although a considerable amount of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) loss could be attributed to natural attenuation, significantly higher TPH removal rates were obtained with NPK fertilization and at increased temperature, which were related to the stimulation of the activities of indigenous soil microorganisms. Changing structures of bacterial and fungal communities significantly explained shifts in TPH contents in both natural attenuation and biostimulation treatments at 10 and 20 °C. However, archaeal communities, in general, and changing abundances and diversities in bacterial and fungal communities did not play a decisive role on the effectiveness of soil bioremediation. Gammaproteobacteria and Bacteroidia classes, within bacterial community, and undescribed/novel groups, within fungal community, proved to be actively involved in TPH removal in natural attenuation and biostimulation at both temperatures.