Oil spills can introduce potentially carcinogenic pollutants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), into coastal environments. Bioremediation uses the natural microorganisms in the environment to remove these pollutants. Traditional studies of these organisms are limited in the types of bacteria isolated due to the limitations of traditional culturing methods. In this study, diffusion chambers were used to culture and isolate potential PAH degrading bacteria from the coastal sediment obtained from the Chandeleur Islands. The diffusion chambers trapped bacteria in agar that contained 1 ppm benzo[a]pyrene. The bacteria were isolated from the diffusion chambers, and the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced to identify the bacteria. Seven unique bacteria isolates were obtained and were found to be genetically similar to bacteria from the Bacteroidetes and Alphaproteobacteria phyla. It was concluded that the diffusion chamber approach provided an environment that promoted the growth of potential PAH degrading bacteria. Exploration in the use of diffusion chambers should continue in research of PAH biodegradation and the uncultivability of microorganisms.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Benkel, Kyle, "In Situ Cultivation of Potential PAH Degrading Bacteria From Coastal Sediment" (2020). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 673.