Searching for new bacterial species that break down polyaromatic hydrocarbons in coastal and oceanic waters

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    Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are recognized as priority pollutants that can negatively impact the environment and human health. These chemicals enter the environment from both natural and anthropogenic sources where they can persist and cause detrimental effects to biological systems. Like with most other environmental pollutants, the most important mechanism by which PAHs are removed occurs through the activities of certain types of bacteria (i.e. the PAH degraders). In recent years we have dramatically increased our knowledge on the types of bacteria playing key roles in the removal of PAHs in the marine environment. However, there remains a lack of complete understanding regarding the full breadth of species and their ecological functioning in PAH removal from contaminated waters. This paper discusses efforts to identify new species of marine bacteria that degrade PAHs using a DNA-based targeted approach called stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP). In addition to providing greater insight on the identity and functioning of the marine microbial world, this information is anticipated to enhance our design of more efficient ways in cleaning up marine hydrocarbon pollution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-209
    Number of pages5
    JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

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