Pressure and temperature effects on deep‐sea hydrocarbon‐degrading microbial communities in subarctic sediments

Luis J Perez Calderon (Corresponding Author), Evangelia Gontikaki, Lloyd D. Potts, Sophie Shaw, Alejandro Gallego, James A. Anderson, Ursula Witte

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Abstract

The Hatton-Rockall Basin (North-East Atlantic) is an area with potential for deep-sea (2,900 m) hydrocarbon exploration. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, many investigations into the responses of sediment microbial communities to oil pollution have been undertaken. However, hydrostatic pressure is a parameter that is often omitted due to the technical difficulties associated with conducting experiments at high pressure (>10 MPa). In this study, sediments from 2,900 m in the Hatton-Rockall Basin, following a one-week decompression period in a temperature-controlled room at 5°C, were incubated in factorial combinations of 0.1 and 30 MPa, 5 and 20°C, and contamination with a hydrocarbon mixture or uncontaminated controls to evaluate the effect of these environmental variables on the bacterial community composition. Our results revealed varying effects of pressure, temperature, and oil contamination on the composition of the bacterial community within the sediment. Temperature was the strongest determinant of differences in the bacterial community structure between samples followed by pressure. Oil contamination did not exert a strong change in the sediment bacterial community structure when pressure and temperature conditions were held at in situ levels (30 MPa and 5°C). The γ-proteobacteria Pseudomonas and Colwellia, and several Bacteroidetes dominated communities at 30 MPa. In contrast, hydrocarbon degraders such as Halomonas, Alcanivorax, and Marinobacter decreased in relative abundance at the same pressure. This study highlights the importance of considering hydrostatic pressure in ex situ investigations into hydrocarbon-degrading deepwater microbial communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00768
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobiologyOpen
Volume8
Issue number6
Early online date16 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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Hydrocarbons
Pressure
Temperature
Petroleum Pollution
Bacterial Structures
Hydrostatic Pressure
Alcanivoraceae
Alteromonadaceae
Marinobacter
Oils
Halomonas
Bacteroidetes
Proteobacteria
Decompression
Pseudomonas
Oceans and Seas

Keywords

  • bacteria
  • deep-sea
  • hydrocarbon contamination
  • hydrostatic pressure
  • sediment
  • temperature
  • BACTERIAL COMMUNITY
  • HYDROSTATIC-PRESSURE
  • CRUDE-OIL
  • SP NOV.
  • METAGENOMICS
  • POLLUTION
  • GROWTH
  • DEGRADATION
  • SPILL
  • BIODEGRADABILITY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

Cite this

Pressure and temperature effects on deep‐sea hydrocarbon‐degrading microbial communities in subarctic sediments. / Perez Calderon, Luis J (Corresponding Author); Gontikaki, Evangelia; Potts, Lloyd D.; Shaw, Sophie; Gallego, Alejandro; Anderson, James A.; Witte, Ursula.

In: MicrobiologyOpen, Vol. 8, No. 6, e00768, 06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "The Hatton-Rockall Basin (North-East Atlantic) is an area with potential for deep-sea (2,900 m) hydrocarbon exploration. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, many investigations into the responses of sediment microbial communities to oil pollution have been undertaken. However, hydrostatic pressure is a parameter that is often omitted due to the technical difficulties associated with conducting experiments at high pressure (>10 MPa). In this study, sediments from 2,900 m in the Hatton-Rockall Basin, following a one-week decompression period in a temperature-controlled room at 5°C, were incubated in factorial combinations of 0.1 and 30 MPa, 5 and 20°C, and contamination with a hydrocarbon mixture or uncontaminated controls to evaluate the effect of these environmental variables on the bacterial community composition. Our results revealed varying effects of pressure, temperature, and oil contamination on the composition of the bacterial community within the sediment. Temperature was the strongest determinant of differences in the bacterial community structure between samples followed by pressure. Oil contamination did not exert a strong change in the sediment bacterial community structure when pressure and temperature conditions were held at in situ levels (30 MPa and 5°C). The γ-proteobacteria Pseudomonas and Colwellia, and several Bacteroidetes dominated communities at 30 MPa. In contrast, hydrocarbon degraders such as Halomonas, Alcanivorax, and Marinobacter decreased in relative abundance at the same pressure. This study highlights the importance of considering hydrostatic pressure in ex situ investigations into hydrocarbon-degrading deepwater microbial communities.",
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note = "Funding information: Natural Environment Research Council, Grant/Award Number: NE/I023465/1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS LJP was funded through MarCRF funds for a PhD project designed by UW, JA, and AG and awarded to LJP. The crew and scientific staff of the RRS Discovery are thanked for assistance in sample collection. Kathrin Vossen and Val Johnston are thanked for assistance with hydrocarbon extractions and DNA sampling. Michael Mcgibbon and Annette Raffan are thanked for assistance with sediment characterization. DY051 and pressure chambers were funded through NERC grant no. NE/I023465/1 to UW. Evina Gontikaki was funded by the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland), and their support is gratefully acknowledged. MASTS is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions. DATA ACCESSIBILITY The raw sequencing data are available in the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA) under the accession number PRJEB25365.",
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AU - Anderson, James A.

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