Bacterial communities of biofilms sampled from seepage groundwater contaminated with petroleum oil

Wonsil Cho, Eun Hee Lee, Eun Hwa Shim, Jaisoo Kim, Hee Wook Ryu, Kyung Suk Cho

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23 Scopus citations


The diesel-degrading activities of biofilms sampled from petroleum-contaminated groundwaters in urban subway drainage systems were examined in liquid cultures, and the microbial populations of the biofilms were characterized by denaturing gel gradient electrophoresis (DGGE) and 16S rDNA sequence analysis. Biofilm samples derived from two sites (19 K and 20 K) at subway Station N and Station I could degrade around 80% of applied diesel within 20 and 40 days, respectively, at 15*C, and these results were strongly correlated with the growth patterns of the biofilms. The closest phylogenetic neighbor of a dominant component in the 19 K biofilm was Thiothrix fructosivorans strain Q (100% similarity). Four dominant strains in the 20 K biofilm were closely related to Thiothrix fructosivorans strain Q (100% similarity), Thiothrix sp. CC-5 (100% similarity), Sphaerotilus sp. IF14 (99% similarity), and Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacterioides (CFB) group bacterium RW262 (98% similarity). Three dominant members in the Station I biofilms were very similar to uncultured Cytophagales clone CRE-PA82 (91% similarity), Pseudomonas sp. WDL5 (97% similarity), and uncultured CFB group bacterium LCK-64 (94% similarity). The microbial components of the biofilms differed depending on the sampling site. This is the first report on the isolation of clones highly similar to Thiothrix fructosivorans and Thiothrix sp. from biofilms in petroleum-polluted groundwaters, and the first evidence that these organisms may play major roles in petroleum degradation and/or biofilm-development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-964
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Biofilms
  • DGGE
  • Diesel
  • Groundwater
  • Seepage
  • Thiothrix fructosivorams


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