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Microbial gene functions enriched in the Deepwater Horizon deep-sea oil plume
Lu, Z.; Deng, Y.; Van Nostrand, J.D.; He, Z.; Voordeckers, J.; Zhou, A.; Lee, Y.-J.; Mason, O.U.; Dubinsky, E.A.; Chavarria, K.L.; Tom, L.M.; Fortney, J.L.; Lamendella, R.; Jansson, J.K.; D'haeseleer, P.; Hazen, T.C.; Zhou, J. (2012). Microbial gene functions enriched in the Deepwater Horizon deep-sea oil plume. ISME J. 6(2): 451-460.
In: The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1751-7362, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    oil spill; deep-sea plume; microbial community; metagenomics; functionalgene arrays; GeoChip

Authors  Top 
  • Lu, Z.
  • Deng, Y.
  • Van Nostrand, J.D.
  • He, Z.
  • Voordeckers, J.
  • Zhou, A.
  • Lee, Y.-J.
  • Mason, O.U.
  • Dubinsky, E.A.
  • Chavarria, K.L.
  • Tom, L.M.
  • Fortney, J.L.
  • Lamendella, R.
  • Jansson, J.K.
  • D'haeseleer, P.
  • Hazen, T.C.
  • Zhou, J.

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the deepest and largest offshore spill in the United State history and its impacts on marine ecosystems are largely unknown. Here, we showed that the microbial community functional composition and structure were dramatically altered in a deep-sea oil plume resulting from the spill. A variety of metabolic genes involved in both aerobic and anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation were highly enriched in the plume compared with outside the plume, indicating a great potential for intrinsic bioremediation or natural attenuation in the deep sea. Various other microbial functional genes that are relevant to carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and iron cycling, metal resistance and bacteriophage replication were also enriched in the plume. Together, these results suggest that the indigenous marine microbial communities could have a significant role in biodegradation of oil spills in deep-sea environments.

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