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Research article2006Peer reviewedOpen access

Changes in active bacterial communities before and after dredging of highly polluted Baltic Sea sediments

Edlund A, Jansson JK


Bacteria residing in sediments have key functions in the marine food web. However, it has been difficult to correlate the identity and activity of bacteria in sediments due to lack of appropriate methods beyond cultivation-based techniques. Our aim was to use a combination of molecular approaches, bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and immunocapture, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, and cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes to assess the composition of growing bacteria in Baltic Sea sediments. The study site was a highly polluted area off the Swedish coast. The sediments were sampled in two consecutive years, before and after remediation, by dredging of the top sediments. Levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls were dramatically reduced as a result of the cleanup project. The compositions of growing members of the communities were significantly different at the two sampling periods. In particular, members from the class Deltaproteobacteria and genus Spirochaeta were more dominant before dredging, but members of the classes Gammaproteobacteria and the Flavobacteria represented the most dominant growing populations after dredging. We also cultivated isolates from the polluted sediments that could transform the model PAH compound, phenanthrene. Some of these isolates were confirmed as dominant growing populations by the molecular methods as well. This suite of methods enabled us to link the identity and activity of the members of the sediment communities

Published in

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
2006, Volume: 72, number: 10, pages: 6800-6807 Publisher: AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY

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      Fish and Aquacultural Science
      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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