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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 538:117-130 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11489

Bacterial communities and their hydrocarbon bioremediation potential in the Bohai Sea, China

Fenglong Yang1, Jingshui Yang1, Chunping Deng1, Nan Chen1, Shuangqing Wang2, Entao Wang3, HongLi Yuan1,*

1State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, PR China
2National Research Center for Geoanalysis, Beijing 100037, PR China
3Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico D. F. 11340, Mexico
4Present address: Center of Life Science, China Agriculture University, No.2 Yuanmingyuan West Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Petroleum exploitation causes serious pollution to the semi-enclosed Bohai Sea (China) ecosystem. However, little is known about the influence of such pollution on the α- and β‑diversity of the bacterial communities or the in situ hydrocarbon biodegradation potential present in the surface sediments. This was explored using 16S rRNA gene-based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, along with alkane hydroxylase (AlkB) and soluble di-iron monooxygenase (SDIMO) gene-based clone libraries. α-diversity (Shannon-Weaver index) was negatively correlated with the BTEX (i.e. benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene) and total nitrogen contents. β-diversity at the phylum/class level (class level for Proteobacteria) and terminal restriction fragment (T-RF) level responded differently to the abiotic factors. At a small to intermediate scale (21.4 to 142.2 km), β-diversity at the T-RF level was closely correlated with geographic distances, while at the phylum/class level, it was significantly influenced by environment heterogeneity. In total, 72.61% of the AlkB sequences were related to Gammaproteobacteria, including Alcanivorax and Marinobacter, while the SDIMO genes were similar to Phenol-2, Mmo, ThmA, PmoC and PrmA genes, with 72% of the sequences found being novel. The high SDIMO gene diversity might be related to the complexity of the hydrocarbon pollution (a mixture of phenol, methane, tetrahydrofuran, propene and propane) and demonstrates the existence of in situ hydrocarbon biodegradation potential. Information about the diversity of bacteria and the hydroxylases is helpful to guide the in situ bioremediation of petroleum pollution and protect ecosystem function in the Bohai Sea.


KEY WORDS: Marine surface sediments · Petroleum pollution · Bacterial communities · Diversity · AlkB · SDIMOs


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Cite this article as: Yang FL, Yang JS, Deng CP, Chen N, Wang SQ, Wang E, Yuan HL (2015) Bacterial communities and their hydrocarbon bioremediation potential in the Bohai Sea, China. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 538:117-130. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11489

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