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Open AccessArticle

Heavy Metals as a Factor Increasing the Functional Genetic Potential of Bacterial Community for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Biodegradation

1
Institute of Food Technology of Plant Origin, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 31, 60-624 Poznań, Poland
2
Institute of Forensic Genetics, Al. Mickiewicza 3/4, 85-071 Bydgoszcz, Poland
3
Department Biotechnology and Food Microbiology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 48, 60-627 Poznan, Poland
4
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Dojazd 11, 60-632 Poznań, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Łukasz Chrzanowski and Łukasz Ławniczak
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25020319 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 1 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 13 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradation of Conventional and Emerging Pollutants)
The bioremediation of areas contaminated with hydrocarbon compounds and heavy metals is challenging due to the synergistic toxic effects of these contaminants. On the other hand, the phenomenon of the induction of microbial secretion of exopolysaccharides (EPS) under the influence of heavy metals may contribute to affect the interaction between hydrophobic hydrocarbons and microbial cells, thus increasing the bioavailability of hydrophobic organic pollutants. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of heavy metals on the changes in the metapopulation structure of an environmental consortium, with particular emphasis on the number of copies of orthologous genes involved in exopolysaccharide synthesis pathways and the biodegradation of hydrocarbons. The results of the experiment confirmed that the presence of heavy metals at concentrations of 50 mg·L−1 and 150 mg·L−1 resulted in a decrease in the metabolic activity of the microbial consortium and its biodiversity. Despite this, an increase in the biological degradation rate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons was noted of 17.9% and 16.9%, respectively. An assessment of the estimated number of genes crucial for EPS synthesis and biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons confirmed the relationship between the activation of EPS synthesis pathways and polyaromatic hydrocarbon biodegradation pathways. It was established that microorganisms that belong to the Burkholderiales order are characterized by a high representation of the analyzed orthologs and high application potential in areas contaminated with heavy metals and hydrocarbons. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrocarbon biodegradation; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; exopolysaccharides; microbial community hydrocarbon biodegradation; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; exopolysaccharides; microbial community
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Staninska-Pięta, J.; Czarny, J.; Piotrowska-Cyplik, A.; Juzwa, W.; Wolko, Ł.; Nowak, J.; Cyplik, P. Heavy Metals as a Factor Increasing the Functional Genetic Potential of Bacterial Community for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Biodegradation. Molecules 2020, 25, 319.

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