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Monitoring Relationships Between Microbial Community DNA Composition and Redox Status in a Contaminated Aquifer

By: Haack, S. K. and Forney L. J.


The goal of this study is to better understand geochemical and microbiological factors which control the development of oxidation/reduction (redox) gradients in contaminated ground water. This goal will be achieved in part by relating spatial and temporal patterns of ground water inorganic and organic chemistry to patterns of microbial community structure. On three separate dates, we assessed the dominant terminal electron-accepting process (TEAP) at specific locations and depths in a jet fuel- and chlorinated solvent-contaminated aquifer, by determining the ground-water redox chemistry and H2 gas concentration. Following TEAP determinations, aquifer sediments were collected from specific TEAP zones. Nucleic acids extracted from these sediments were analyzed by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA fragments. Sediment samples taken from similar locations within two (field replicate) cores exhibited similar ARDRA and DGGE banding patterns, suggesting similar community structure and reproducibility of both procedures. On each date, both ARDRA and DGGE banding patterns changed from one TEAP zone to another. For each procedure, samples taken from the same TEAP zone, but from different cores, shared selected bands. Community profiles across the spectrum of samples were compared using image analysis. Correlations between microbial community structure and ground-water chemistry will refine our ability to monitor and predict processes which control bioremediation in similar environments.

Haack, S.K. and Forney, L.J., 1997, Monitoring Relationships Between Microbial Community DNA Composition and Redox Status in a Contaminated Aquifer: Abstracts for the 97th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C., American Society for Microbiology, 636 pp.

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