Distribution of alkane-degrading bacterial communities in soils from King George Island, Maritime Antarctic

Diogo Jurelevicius, Simone Raposo Cotta, Raquel Peixoto, Alexandre Soares Rosado, Lucy Seldin

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31 Scopus citations


The structure of alkane-degrading bacterial communities, which are present in both the hydrocarbon-polluted and pristine soils of King George Island in Maritime Antarctic, was studied using molecular methods. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplifications of the alkane monooxygenase AlkB-coding genes, followed by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) analyses, revealed the widespread presence and complex diversity of alkane-utilizing bacteria in these soils. The resulting dendrograms and Canonical Correspondence Analyses (CCA) of PCR-RFLP and PCR-DGGE patterns showed that the characteristics of the different soils, such as physicochemical properties, soil type and/or hydrocarbon contamination levels, affect the distribution of alkane-degrading bacteria. Sequencing of 20 DGGE bands revealed the presence in Antarctic soils of alkane monooxygenases with low similarity (61-91%) compared to those previously described in Gram-positive bacteria, such as Mycobacterium, Gordonia, Rhodococcus and Aeromicrobium. The high diversity of alkB genes in the soils of King George Island suggests the potential for oil pollutant degradation. © 2012 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Biology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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