|Field observations on the variability of crude oil impact on indigenous hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria from sub-Antarctic intertidal sediments|Delille, D.; Delille, B. (2000). Field observations on the variability of crude oil impact on indigenous hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria from sub-Antarctic intertidal sediments. Mar. Environ. Res. 49(5): 403-417. dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0141-1136(99)00080-X
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, meer
Antarctica; oil contamination; hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria;
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Oil pollution of the oceans has been a problem ever since man began to use fossil fuels. Biodegradation by naturally occurring populations of micro-organisms is a major mechanism for the removal of petroleum from the environment. To examine the effects of crude oil pollution on intertidal bacteria, we repeated the same contamination experiments on nine different sub-Antarctic intertidal beaches using specifically built enclosures (PVC pipe, 15 cm in inner diameter and 30 cm in height). Despite the pristine environmental conditions, significant numbers of indigenous hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria were observed in all the studied beaches. Introduction of oil into these previously oil-free environments resulted in several orders of magnitude of increase in hydrocarbon-degrading micro-organisms within a few days in some of the studied sites but has no obvious effects on two others. The physical environment of the bacterial assemblage seems to play a major role in the biodegradation capacities. After 3 months of contamination, both remaining oil concentrations and biodegradation indexes differ strongly between the different stations. Thus, chemical and biological parameters reveal a strong heterogeneity of biodegradation capacities between the different sites.