Microbial community composition and PAHs removal potential of indigenous bacteria in oil contaminated sediment of Taean coast, Korea

Dong Wan Lee, Hanbyul Lee, Aslan Hwanhwi Lee, Bong Oh Kwon, Jong Seong Khim, Un Hyuk Yim, Beom Seok Kim, Jae Jin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


The tidal flats near Sinduri beach in Taean, Korea, have been severely contaminated by heavy crude oils due to the Korea's worst oil spill accident, say the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill, in 2007. Crude oil compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pose significant environmental damages due to their wide distribution, persistence, high toxicity, mutagenicity, and carcinogenicity. Microbial community of Sinduri beach sediments samples was analyzed by metagenomic data with 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Three phyla (Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes) accounted for approximately ≥93.0% of the total phyla based on metagenomic analysis. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in Sinduri beach sediments. Cultivable bacteria were isolated from PAH-enriched cultures, and bacterial diversity was investigated through performing culture characterization followed by molecular biology methods. Sixty-seven isolates were obtained, comprising representatives of Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, α- and γ-Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. PAH catabolism genes, such as naphthalene dioxygenase (NDO) and aromatic ring hydroxylating dioxygenase (ARHDO), were used as genetic markers to assess biodegradation of PAHs in the cultivable bacteria. The ability to degrade PAHs was demonstrated by monitoring the removal of PAHs using a gas chromatography mass spectrometer. Overall, various PAH-degrading bacteria were widely present in Sinduri beach sediments and generally reflected the restored microbial community. Among them, Cobetia marina, Rhodococcus soli, and Pseudoalteromonas agarivorans were found to be significant in degradation of PAHs. This large collection of PAH-degrading strains represents a valuable resource for studies investigating mechanisms of PAH degradation and bioremediation in oil contaminated coastal environment, elsewhere. PAH-degrading bacteria are a valuable resource for studies investigating the mechanisms underlying PAH degradation and bioremediation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (NRF-2017R1A2B4002071) and the BK21 Plus program in 2013 (project no. 21A20130012270) funded by NRF. This work was also supported by the project entitled “Oil Spill Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Restoration (PM57431)” funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea and a grant [KCG-01-2017-06] through the Disaster and Safety Management Institute funded by Korea Coast Guard of Korean government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bioremediation
  • Indigenous bacteria
  • Microbial community
  • Oil contaminated sediment
  • PAH-degrading bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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