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Research article2023Peer reviewed

Microcosm experiment to test bacterial responses to perfluorooctanoate exposure

Guo, Chao; Ahrens, Lutz; Bertilsson, Stefan; Coolen, Marco J. L.; Tang, Jianhui


The impact of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances on microbial communities is challenging to investigate in situ because of the complexity and dynamics of natural ecosystems. In the present study, four microcosms were estab-lished to explore the impact of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) on bacterial communities in riverine and marine settings. PFOA distribution between the aqueous and sedimentary phases fluctuated in both PFOA-amended and unamended control systems. PFOA was more rapidly partitioned into the sediment in marine than in riverine microcosms. Differ-ences in iron concentration and salinity may influence PFOA exchange between water and sediment. In marine micro-cosms, the alpha diversity of bacterial communities was significantly correlated to PFOA concentration. PFOA tended to correlate more strongly with bacterial community composition in water than in sediment. At the whole system level, Lefse's analysis indicated Algoriphagus halophilus as biomarkers for PFOA exposure in both riverine and marine systems, and the family Flavobacteriaceae were also more abundant in the exposed systems. In terms of temporal variation (comparison between three time points in the systems), metastat analysis showed great variability of potential PFOA-sensitive bacteria at the genus level. As such, most PFOA-sensitive genera were transitory and variable and existed for a short term in different systems (river, sea, blank, and experiment) and phases. Compared with other PFOA-sensitive genera, we suggest that further research is carried out to explore the use of Limnobacter as a bioindicator for temporal monitoring of PFOA pollution.


PFOA; Microcosm system; Bacterial community; Biomarkers; Xiaoqing River; Bohai Sea

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2023, Volume: 857, article number: 159685
Publisher: ELSEVIER