Indigenous sediment microbial activity in response to nutrient enrichment and plant growth following a controlled oil spill on a freshwater wetland

  1. Get@NRC: Indigenous sediment microbial activity in response to nutrient enrichment and plant growth following a controlled oil spill on a freshwater wetland (Opens in a new window)
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Journal titleBioremediation Journal
Pages6980; # of pages: 12
AbstractThe population density and activity of a microbial community associated with the sediment and rhizosphere of an intertidal freshwater wetland dominated by Scirpus pungens was monitored before and following the application of weathered Mesa light crude oil and fertilizers. The influence of nutrient enrichment (fertilizers) and plant growth on oil degradation rates was determined from the resulting data. The study plots (four blocks of replicates) were subjected to five treatments: oil only (natural attenuation); oil plus ammonium nitrate and phosphate, with regular cropping of the plants; oil plus ammonium nitrate and phosphate; oil plus sodium nitrate and phosphate; no oil, ammonium nitrate and phosphate. The plots were regularly monitored in the field for gas production (carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide), and samples were collected for laboratory analysis of denitrification activity, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbon degradation activity, and total heteroptrophic bacteria.The viable bacterial population density increased during the first 4 weeks in oiled and unoiled experimental plots that were fertilized. In contrast, population densities in untreated areas remained relatively unchanged throughout the monitoring period. The microbial population demonstrated a rapid and sustained increase in naphthalene mineralization activity in plots that were both fertilized and oiled. Hexadecane mineralization activity increased in response to fertilizer application, with ammonium nitrate causing a larger increase than sodium nitrate. A very significant difference observed in the mineralization of hexadecane was that the surface sediments were much more active than the subsurface sediments. This difference became even more pronounced in the second year of monitoring, even though the treatment regime had been discontinued. This compartmentalization of mineralization activity was not observed for naphthalene. Following fertilizer application, field and laboratory evaluation of nitrogen metabolism in the sediments indicated significant denitrification activity that was not adversely affected by oiling. The results demonstrated that the application of fertilizers stimulated the activities of indigenous hydrocarbon-degrading and denitrifying bacteria, and the presence of oil either enhanced or had no detrimental effect on these activities. As a remediation strategy, the application of fertilizers to a wetland shoreline following an oil spill would promote the growth of indigenous plants and their associated microbial flora, resulting in increased metabolic activity and the potential for increased oil degradation activity.
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AffiliationNRC Biotechnology Research Institute; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number45977
NPARC number3540326
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Record identifierd43ef079-c9b4-4761-8825-7af3443644ac
Record created2009-03-01
Record modified2016-05-09
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