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Microbial diversity and hydrocarbon depletion in low and high diesel-polluted soil samples from Keller Peninsula, South Shetland Islands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2014

Juliano C. Cury
Universidade Federal de São João Del-Rei, Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil Laboratório de Ecologia Microbiana Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Diogo A. Jurelevicius
Laboratório de Genética Microbiana, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Helena D.M. Villela
Laboratório de Ecologia Microbiana Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hugo E. Jesus
Laboratório de Ecologia Microbiana Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Raquel S. Peixoto
Laboratório de Ecologia Microbiana Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Carlos E.G.R. Schaefer
Departamento de Solos, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Marcia C. Bícego
Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Lucy Seldin*
Laboratório de Genética Microbiana, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Alexandre S. Rosado
Laboratório de Ecologia Microbiana Molecular, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
*Corresponding author:


The bioremediation of Antarctic soils is a challenge due to the harsh conditions found in this environment. To characterize better the effect of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentrations on bacterial, archaeal and microeukaryotic communities in low (LC) and high (HC) hydrocarbon-contaminated soil samples from the Maritime Antarctic clone libraries (small-subunit rRNA genes) were constructed. The results showed that a high concentration of hydrocarbons resulted in a decrease in bacterial and eukaryotic diversity; however, no effect of the TPH concentration was observed for the archaeal community. The HC soil samples demonstrated a high relative abundance of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) affiliated with unclassified group TM7 and eukaryotic OTUs affiliated with unclassified fungi from Pezizomycotina subphyla. Chemical analyses of the LC and HC soil samples revealed the presence of negligible amounts of nitrogen, thereby justifying the use of biostimulation to remediate these Antarctic soils. Microcosm experiments showed that the application of fertilizers led to an increase of up to 27.8% in the TPH degradation values. The data presented here constitute the first step towards developing the best method to deploy bioremediation in Antarctic soils and provide information to indicate an appropriate action plan for immediate use in the case of new accidents.

Biological Sciences
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2014 

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