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First Characterization of PAH-degrading bacteria from Río de la Plata and high-resolution melting: an encouraging step toward bioremediation

Izzo, Silvina A., Quintana, Silvina, Espinosa, Mariela, Babay, Paola A., Peressutti, Silvia R.
Environmental technology 2019 v.40 no.10 pp. 1250-1261
Actinobacteria, Halomonas, Pseudomonas, Vibrio, alpha-Proteobacteria, bacteria, bioremediation, estuaries, fisheries, high performance liquid chromatography, melting, oils, phenanthrenes, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, restriction fragment length polymorphism, ribosomal DNA, screening, surfactants, South America
The Río de la Plata, one of the most important estuarine environments in South America that sustains valuable fisheries, is affected by PAH contamination associated with oil industry and port activities. A total of 95 bacteria with potential to degrade phenanthrene were obtained from water samples using traditional culture methods. PCR-RFLP analysis of 16S rDNA partial fragments was used as a screening tool for reducing the number of isolates during diversity studies, obtaining 42 strains with different fingerprint patterns. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that they were affiliated to 19 different genera of Gamma- and Alpha-Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria. Some of them showed an efficient phenanthrene degradation by HPLC (between 83% and 97%) and surfactant production (between 40% and 55%). They could be an alternative for microbial selection in the degradation of PAHs in this estuarine system. In order to detect and monitor PAH-degrading bacteria in this highly productive area, rDNA amplicons of the 33 isolates, produced by PCR real time, were tested by the high-resolution melting (HRM) technique. After analyzing the generated melting curves, it was possible to accurately distinguish nine patterns corresponding to eight different genera. HRM analysis allowed a differentiation at the species level for genera Pseudomonas, Halomonas and Vibrio. The implementation of this method as a fast and sensitive scanning approach to identify PAH-degrading bacteria, avoiding the sequencing step, would mean an advance in bioremediation technologies.