Cultivable hydrocarbon degrading bacteria have low phylogenetic diversity but highly versatile functional potential

Marta Barbato, Francesca Mapelli, Elena Crotti, Daniele Daffonchio, Sara Borin

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10 Scopus citations


Hydrocarbon (HC)pollution is a threat to the marine environment and bioremediation strategies based on microbial degradation have been developed for pollution clean-up. Effectiveness of bioaugmentation, i.e. the addition of suitable HC-degrading microorganisms to the polluted matrix, strongly depends on the metabolic and physiological versatility of cultivable HC-degrading microorganisms and on their adaptation capacity. The aim of this work was to investigate the potential of laboratory enrichment approaches to obtain cultivable HC-degrading bacteria having versatility breadth. Despite we used as inoculum marine samples of different origin and contamination history, and applied different enrichment strategies, we brought into culture 183 hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial strains strongly dominated by only the two genera Alcanivorax and Marinobacter. These isolates, screened for traits related to HC degradation, biostimulation and abiotic stress tolerance, demonstrated nevertheless to have a diverse functional potential, correlated to the adopted enrichment strategy. Although the obtained strains resulted phylogenetically similar, we showed that multiple cultivation approaches enhanced their metabolic diversification with potential benefits for bioaugmentation effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Biodeterioration & Biodegradation
StatePublished - May 9 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was granted by the EU FP7 project Kill Spill (G.A. No. 312139)and the EU Horizon 2020 Project INMARE (G.A. No. 634486). DD thanks the support of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (baseline research funds to DD). The authors acknowledge Dr. Simone Cappello and Dr. Mirko Magagnini and their research groups for providing part of the environmental samples used in this work, and Ms. Valentina Sforza for her contribute in performing the physiological characterization of the strains.


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