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Le Grazie di Ancona, Italy

Bargiela R.,CSIC - Institute of Catalysis | Gertler C.,Bangor University | Gertler C.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute Federal Research Institute for Animal Health | Magagnini M.,EcoTechSystems Ltd. | And 6 more authors.
Frontiers in Microbiology | Year: 2015

Biostimulation with different nitrogen sources is often regarded as a strategy of choice in combating oil spills in marine environments. Such environments are typically depleted in nitrogen, therefore limiting the balanced microbial utilization of carbon-rich petroleum constituents. It is fundamental, yet only scarcely accounted for, to analyze the catabolic consequences of application of biostimulants. Here, we examined such alterations in enrichment microcosms using sediments from chronically crude oil-contaminated marine sediment at Ancona harbor (Italy) amended with natural fertilizer, uric acid (UA), or ammonium (AMM). We applied the web-based AromaDeg resource using as query Illumina HiSeq meta-sequences (UA: 27,893 open reading frames; AMM: 32,180) to identify potential catabolic differences. A total of 45 (for UA) and 65 (AMM) gene sequences encoding key catabolic enzymes matched AromaDeg, and their participation in aromatic degradation reactions could be unambiguously suggested. Genomic signatures for the degradation of aromatics such as 2-chlorobenzoate, indole-3-acetate, biphenyl, gentisate, quinoline and phenanthrene were common for both microcosms. However, those for the degradation of orcinol, ibuprofen, phenylpropionate, homoprotocatechuate and benzene (in UA) and 4-aminobenzene-sulfonate, p-cumate, dibenzofuran and phthalate (in AMM), were selectively enriched. Experimental validation was conducted and good agreement with predictions was observed. This suggests certain discrepancies in action of these biostimulants on the genomic content of the initial microbial community for the catabolism of petroleum constituents or aromatics pollutants. In both cases, the emerging microbial communities were phylogenetically highly similar and were composed by very same proteobacterial families. However, examination of taxonomic assignments further revealed different catabolic pathway organization at the organismal level, which should be considered for designing oil spill mitigation strategies in the sea. © 2015 Bargiela, Gertler, Magagnini, Mapelli, Chen, Daffonchio, Golyshin and Ferrer.

Daffonchio D.,University of Milan | Ferrer M.,CSIC - Institute of Catalysis | Mapelli F.,University of Milan | Cherif A.,Tunis el Manar University | And 11 more authors.
New Biotechnology | Year: 2013

Mediterranean Sea is facing a very high risk of oil pollution due to the high number of oil extractive and refining sites along the basin coasts, and the intense maritime traffic of oil tankers. All the Mediterranean countries have adopted severe regulations for minimizing pollution events and bioremediation feasibility studies for the most urgent polluted sites are undergoing. However, the analysis of the scientific studies applying modern 'meta-omics' technologies that have been performed on marine oil pollution worldwide showed that the Southern Mediterranean side has been neglected by the international research. Most of the studies in the Mediterranean Sea have been done in polluted sites of the Northern side of the basin. Those of the Southern side are poorly studied, despite many of the Southern countries being major oil producers and exporters. The recently EU-funded research project ULIXES has as a major objective to increase the knowledge of the bioremediation potential of sites from the Southern Mediterranean countries. ULIXES is targeting four major polluted sites on the coastlines of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, including seashore sands, lagoons, and oil refinery polluted sediments. The research is designed to unravel, categorize, catalogue, exploit and manage the diversity and ecology of microorganisms thriving in these polluted sites. Isolation of novel hydrocarbon degrading microbes and a series of state of the art 'meta-omics' technologies are the baseline tools for improving our knowledge on biodegradation capacities mediated by microbes under different environmental settings and for designing novel site-tailored bioremediation approaches. A network of twelve European and Southern Mediterranean partners is cooperating for plugging the existing gap of knowledge for the development of novel bioremediation processes targeting such poorly investigated polluted sites. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Daffonchio D.,University of Milan | Mapelli F.,University of Milan | Cherif A.,Tunis el Manar University | Malkawi H.I.,Yarmouk University | And 9 more authors.
Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology | Year: 2012

The civilizations in the Mediterranean Sea have deeply changed the local environment, especially with the extraction of subsurface oil and gas, their refinery and transportation. Major environmental impacts are affecting all the sides of the basin with actual and potential natural and socio-economic problems. Events like the recent BP's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico would have a tremendous impact on a close basin like the Mediterranean Sea. The recently EU-funded project ULIXES (http://www. ulixes. unimi. it/) aims to unravel, categorize, catalogue, exploit and manage the microbial diversity available in the Mediterranean Sea for addressing bioremediation of polluted marine sites. The rationale of the project is based on the multiple diverse environmental niches of the Mediterranean Sea and the huge range of microorganisms inhabiting therein. Microbial consortia and their ecology, their components or products are used for designing novel pollutant- and site-tailored bioremediation approaches. ULIXES exploits microbial resource mining by the isolation of novel microorganisms as well as by novel advanced 'meta-omics' technologies for solving pollution of three major high priority pollutant classes, petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated compounds and heavy metals. A network of twelve European and Southern Mediterranean partners is exploring the microbial diversity and ecology associated to a large set of polluted environmental matrices including seashore sands, lagoons, harbors and deep-sea sediments, oil tanker shipwreck sites, as well as coastal and deep sea natural sites where hydrocarbon seepages occur. The mined collections are exploited for developing novel bioremediation processes to be tested in ex situ and in situ field bioremediation trials. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Gertler C.,Bangor University | Gertler C.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute Federal Research Institute for Animal Health | Bargiela R.,CSIC - Institute of Catalysis | Mapelli F.,University of Milan | And 15 more authors.
Microbial Ecology | Year: 2015

Uric acid is a promising hydrophobic nitrogen source for biostimulation of microbial activities in oil-impacted marine environments. This study investigated metabolic processes and microbial community changes in a series of microcosms using sediment from the Mediterranean and the Red Sea amended with ammonium and uric acid. Respiration, emulsification, ammonium and protein concentration measurements suggested a rapid production of ammonium from uric acid accompanied by the development of microbial communities containing hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria after 3 weeks of incubation. About 80 % of uric acid was converted to ammonium within the first few days of the experiment. Microbial population dynamics were investigated by Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis and Illumina sequencing as well as by culture-based techniques. Resulting data indicated that strains related to Halomonas spp. converted uric acid into ammonium, which stimulated growth of microbial consortia dominated by Alcanivorax spp. and Pseudomonas spp. Several strains of Halomonas spp. were isolated on uric acid as the sole carbon source showed location specificity. These results point towards a possible role of halomonads in the conversion of uric acid to ammonium utilized by hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Barbato M.,University of Milan | Mapelli F.,University of Milan | Magagnini M.,EcoTechSystems Ltd. | Chouaia B.,University of Milan | And 7 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2016

Petroleum pollution results in co-contamination by different classes of molecules, entailing the occurrence of marine sediments difficult to remediate, as in the case of the Ancona harbor (Mediterranean Sea, Italy). Autochthonous bioaugmentation (ABA), by exploiting the indigenous microbes of the environment to be treated, could represent a successful bioremediation strategy. In this perspective we aimed to i) identify the main drivers of the bacterial communities' richness in the sediments, ii) establish enrichment cultures with different hydrocarbon pollutants evaluating their effects on the bacterial communities' composition, and iii) obtain a collection of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria potentially exploitable in ABA. The correlation between the selection of different specialized bacterial populations and the type of pollutants was demonstrated by culture-independent analyses, and by establishing a collection of bacteria with different hydrocarbon degradation traits. Our observations indicate that pollution dictates the diversity of sediment bacterial communities and shapes the ABA potential in harbor sediments. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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