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Microb Ecol. 2007 Feb;53(2):259-69.

Microbial activity and community composition during bioremediation of diesel-oil-contaminated soil: effects of hydrocarbon concentration, fertilizers, and incubation time.

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Institute of Microbiology, Leopold Franzens University, Technikerstrasse 25, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


We investigated the influence of three factors-diesel oil concentration [2500, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 mg total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) kg(-1) soil], biostimulation (unfertilized, inorganic fertilization with NPK nutrients, or oleophilic fertilization with Inipol EAP22), and incubation time-on hydrocarbon removal, enzyme activity (lipase), and microbial community structure [phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA)] in a laboratory soil bioremediation treatment. Fertilization enhanced TPH removal and lipase activity significantly (P < or = 0.001). The higher the initial contamination, the more marked was the effect of fertilization. Differences between the two fertilizers were not significant (P > 0.05). Microbial communities, as assessed by PLFA patterns, were primarily influenced by the TPH content, followed by fertilization, and the interaction of these two factors, whereas incubation time was of minor importance. This was demonstrated by three-factorial analysis of variance and multidimensional scaling analysis. Low TPH content had no significant effect on soil microbial community, independent of the treatment. High TPH content generally resulted in increased PLFA concentrations, whereby a significant increase in microbial biomass with time was only observed with inorganic fertilization, whereas oleophilic fertilization (Inipol EAP22) tended to inhibit microbial activity and to reduce PLFA contents with time. Among bacteria, PLFA indicative of the Gram-negative population were significantly (P < or = 0.05) increased in soil samples containing high amounts of diesel oil and fertilized with NPK after 21-38 days of incubation at 20 degrees C. The Gram-positive population was not significantly influenced by TPH content or biostimulation treatment.

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