Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Total Environ. 2015 Jul 15;521-522:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.098. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Impact of hydrocarbons, PCBs and heavy metals on bacterial communities in Lerma River, Salamanca, Mexico: Investigation of hydrocarbon degradation potential.

Author information

Ingeniería Ambiental, Depto. Ing. Civil, DI-CGT, Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Gto, Mexico. Electronic address:
Ingeniería Ambiental, Depto. Ing. Civil, DI-CGT, Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Gto, Mexico.
Depto. Astronomía, DCNyE-CGT, Universidad de Guanajuato, Gto, Mexico.
Equipe Environnement et Microbiologie (EEM-UMR-IPREM), Universitè de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, Pau, France.
Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Inst. Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Freshwater contamination usually comes from runoff water or direct wastewater discharges to the environment. This paper presents a case study which reveals the impact of these types of contamination on the sediment bacterial population. A small stretch of Lerma River Basin, heavily impacted by industrial activities and urban wastewater release, was studied. Due to industrial inputs, the sediments are characterized by strong hydrocarbon concentrations, ranging from 2 935 to 28 430μg·kg(-1) of total polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These sediments are also impacted by heavy metals (e.g., 9.6μg·kg(-1) of Cd and 246μg·kg(-1) of Cu, about 8 times the maximum recommended values for environmental samples) and polychlorinated biphenyls (ranging from 54 to 123μg·kg(-1) of total PCBs). The bacterial diversity on 6 sediment samples, taken from upstream to downstream of the main industrial and urban contamination sources, was assessed through TRFLP. Even though the high PAH concentrations are hazardous to aquatic life, they are not the only factor driving bacterial community composition in this ecosystem. Urban discharges, leading to hypoxia and low pH, also strongly influenced bacterial community structure. The bacterial bioprospection of these samples, using PAH as unique carbon source, yielded 8 hydrocarbonoclastic strains. By sequencing the 16S rDNA gene, these were identified as similar to Mycobacterium goodii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas lundensis or Aeromonas veronii. These strains showed high capacity to degrade naphthalene (between 92 and 100% at 200mg·L(-1)), pyrene (up to 72% at 100mg·L(-1)) and/or fluoranthene (52% at 50mg·L(-1)) as their only carbon source on in vitro experiments. These hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria were detected even in the samples upstream of the city of Salamanca, suggesting chronical contamination, already in place longer before. Such microorganisms are clearly potential candidates for hydrocarbon degradation in the treatment of oil discharges.


Freshwater; Heavy metals; Hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria; Oil contamination; PCBs

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center