Hydrocarbon pollutants shape bacterial community assembly of harbor sediments

Marta Barbato, Francesca Mapelli, Mirko Magagnini, Bessem Chouaia, Monica Armeni, Ramona Marasco, Elena Crotti, Daniele Daffonchio, Sara Borin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Petroleum pollution results in co-contamination by different classes of molecules, entailing the occurrence of marine sediments difficult to remediate, as in the case of the Ancona harbor (Mediterranean Sea, Italy). Autochthonous bioaugmentation (ABA), by exploiting the indigenous microbes of the environment to be treated, could represent a successful bioremediation strategy. In this perspective we aimed to i) identify the main drivers of the bacterial communities' richness in the sediments, ii) establish enrichment cultures with different hydrocarbon pollutants evaluating their effects on the bacterial communities' composition, and iii) obtain a collection of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria potentially exploitable in ABA. The correlation between the selection of different specialized bacterial populations and the type of pollutants was demonstrated by culture-independent analyses, and by establishing a collection of bacteria with different hydrocarbon degradation traits. Our observations indicate that pollution dictates the diversity of sediment bacterial communities and shapes the ABA potential in harbor sediments.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was funded by FP-7 projects ULIXES (No. 266473, “Unraveling and exploiting Mediterranean Sea microbial diversity and ecology for xenobiotics' and pollutants'clean-up”) and Kill Spill (No. 312139, “Integrated Biotechnological Solutions for Combating Marine Oil Spills”). The authors thank the support of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (baseline research funds to D.D.). F.M. was supported by Università degli Studi di Milano, DeFENS, European Social Fund (FSE) and Regione Lombardia (contract “Dote Ricerca”).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Pollution
  • Aquatic Science


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