Characterisation of the effect of a simulated hydrocarbon spill on diazotrophs in mangrove sediment mesocosm

Rodrigo Gouvêa Taketani, Henrique Fragoso dos Santos, Jan Dirk van Elsas, Alexandre Soares Rosado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


An analysis of the effect of an oil spill on mangrove sediments was carried out by contamination of mesocosms derived from two different mangroves, one with a history of contamination and one pristine. The association between N2 fixers and hydrocarbon degradation was assessed using quantitative PCR (qPCR) for the genes rrs and nifH, nifHclone library sequencing and total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) quantification using gas chromatography. TPH showed that the microbial communities of both mangroves were able to degrade the hydrocarbons added; however, whereas the majority of oil added to the mesocosm derived from the polluted mangrove was degraded in the 75 days of the experiment, there was only partially degradation in the mesocosm derived from the pristine mangrove. qPCR showed that the addition of oil led to an increase in rrsgene copy numbers in both mesocosms, having almost no effect on the nifHcopy numbers in the pristine mangrove. Sequencing of nifHclones indicated that the changes promoted by the oil in the polluted mangrove were greater than those observed in the pristine mesocosm. The main effect observed in the polluted mesocosm was the selection of a single phylotype which is probably adapted to the presence of petroleum. These results, together with previous reports, give hints about the relationship between N2 fixation and hydrocarbon degradation in natural ecosystems. © The Author(s) 2009.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-354
Number of pages12
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 3 2009
Externally publishedYes


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