167 Microbial response to a port fuel spill: Community dynamics and potential for bioremediation,

Perdigão R., Tomasino M.P., Magalhães C., Carvalho M.F., Almeida C.M.R., Mucha A.P. (2024) Marine Pollution Bulletin, 203, art. no. 116434,  DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2024.116434

ABSTRACT: Following a fuel leakage inside a Portuguese maritime port, we conducted parallel 30-day experiments using contaminated seawater and fuel, sampled five days after the incident. This study aimed to (i)survey the native microbial community response to the spilled fuel and (ii)evaluate the efficacy of bioremediation, both biostimulation and bioaugmentation with a lyophilized bacterial consortium (Rhodococcus erythropolis, Pseudomonas sp.), in accelerating hydrocarbon degradation. Metabarcoding analysis revealed a shift in microbial communities, with increased abundance of hydrocarbon-degraders (e.g. Alcanivorax, Thalassospira). Ninety-five hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria were isolated, including key groups from the enriched communities. The lyophilized bacteria added in bioaugmentation, enhanced the abundance of hydrocarbon-degraders over time and were recovered throughout time. Bioremediation treatments favoured biodegradation, achieving over 60 % removal of total petroleum hydrocarbons after 15 days, contrasting with natural attenuation where almost no TPH was removed. This work highlights the potential of bioremediation technologies to accelerate hydrocarbon-degrading activity, for oil spills inside ports.

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