Responses of microbial communities in Arctic sea ice after contamination by crude petroleum oil

TitleResponses of microbial communities in Arctic sea ice after contamination by crude petroleum oil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBrakstad O G, Nonstad I, Faksness L-G, Brandvik P J
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Date PublishedApr
ISBN Number0095-3628
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV200800288584
KeywordsOil and Gas Degradation
AbstractMicrobial communities associated with Arctic fjord ice polluted with petroleum oils were investigated in this study. A winter field experiment was conducted in the Van Mijen Fjord (Svalbard) from February to June 2004, in which the ice was contaminated with a North Sea paraffinic oil. Holes were drilled in the ice and oil samples frozen into the ice at the start of the experiment. Samples, including cores of both oil-contaminated and clean ice, were collected from the field site 33, 74, and 112 days after oil application. The sampled cores were separated into three sections and processed for microbiological and chemical analyses. In the oil-contaminated cores, enumerations of total prokaryotic cells by fluorescence microscopy and colony-forming units (CFU) counts of heterotrophic prokaryotes both showed stimulation of microbial growth, while concentrations of oil-degrading prokaryotes remained at similar levels in contaminated and clean ice. Analysis of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified bacterial 16S rRNA gene fragments by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) revealed that bacterial communities in oil-contaminated ice generated fewer bands than communities in clean ice, although banding patterns changed both in contaminated and clean ice during the experimental period. Microbial communities in unpolluted ice and in cores contaminated with the paraffinic oil were examined by cloning and sequence analysis. In the contaminated cores, the communities became predominated by Gammaproteobacteria related to the genera Colwellia, Marinomonas, and Glaciecola, while clean ice included more heterogeneous populations. Chemical analysis of the oil-contaminated ice cores with determinations of n-C17/Pristane and naphthalene/ phenanthrene ratios indicated slow oil biodegradation in the ice, primarily in the deeper parts of the ice with low hydrocarbon concentrations.