Comparison of microbial communities in petroleum-contaminated groundwater using genetic and metabolic profiles at Kyonggi-Do, South Korea

Eun Hee Lee, Jaisoo Kim, Ji Young Kim, So Yeon Koo, Sang Dong Lee, Kyung Seok Ko, Dong Chan Ko, Byoung Woo Yum, Kyung Suk Cho

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18 Scopus citations


This research has been performed to determine the differences in microbial communities according to physicochemical properties such as concentrations of volatile aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), dissolved oxygen (DO), electron acceptors, etc., in oil-contaminated groundwaters at Kyonggi-Do, South Korea. The properties of bacterial and microbial communities were analyzed by 16S polymerase chain reaction (PCR) denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting method and community-level physiological profiling (CLPP) using Eco-plate, respectively. Based on the DGGE fingerprints, the similarities of bacterial community structures were high with similar DO levels, and low with different DO levels. Whereas the dominant bacterial groups in GW13 (highest BTEX and lowest DO) were acidobacteria, α-proteobacteria, β-proteobacteria, γ-proteobacteria, δ-proteobacteria, and spirochetes, those in GW7 (highest BTEX and highest DO) were actinobacteria, α-proteobacteria, β-proteobacteria, γ-proteobacteria, δ-proteobacteria, and sphingobacteria. Based on the CLPP results, the groundwater samples were roughly divided into three groups: above 4 mg/L in DO (group 1: GW3 and GW7), below 4 mg/L in DO (group 2: GW8, W1, W2, W3, and BH10), and highly contaminated with BTEX (group 3: GW13). Shannon index showed that the microbial diversities and equitabilities were higher in shallower aquifer samples. Overall, this study verified that the greatest influencing factors on microbial/bacterial communities in groundwaters were DO and carbon sources, although BTEX concentration was one of the major factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-382
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by a grant by Sustainable Water Resources Research Center (1-0-3). Ms. Kim, J. Y. and Koo, S. Y. were financially supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation through the Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Research Center at Pohang University of Science and Technology (R11-2003-006-06001-0). Ms. Lee, E. H. was also financially supported by the KOSEF NRL Program grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (R0A-2008-000-20044-0).


  • BTEX
  • Community-level physiological profiling
  • DO
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Groundwater
  • Microbial community structure


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