The pollution of terrestrial and aquatic environments by petroleum contaminants, especially diesel fuel, is a persistent environmental threat requiring cost-effective and environmentally sensitive remediation approaches. Bioremediation is one such approach, but is dependent on the availability of microorganisms with the necessary metabolic abilities and environmental adaptability. The aim of this study was to examine the microbial community in a petroleum contaminated site, and isolate organisms potentially able to degrade hydrocarbons. Through successive enrichment of soil microorganisms from samples of an historic petroleum contaminated site in Wietze, Germany, we isolated a bacterial consortium using diesel fuel hydrocarbons as sole carbon and energy source. The 16S rRNA gene analysis revealed the dominance of Alphaproteobacteria. We further reconstructed a total of 18 genomes from both the original soil sample and the isolated consortium. The analysis of both the metagenome of the consortium and the reconstructed metagenome-assembled genomes show that the most abundant bacterial genus in the consortium, Acidocella, possess many of the genes required for the degradation of diesel fuel aromatic hydrocarbons, which are often the most toxic component. This can explain why this genus proliferated in all the enrichment cultures. Therefore, this study reveals that the microbial consortium isolated in this study and its dominant genus, Acidocella, could potentially serve as an effective inoculum for the bioremediation of sites polluted with diesel fuel or other organic contaminants.
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- Diesel fuel