Patterns and Prediction: Molecular Analyses of PAH-Degrading Microbial Populations and Their Function in Real Contaminant Mixture EnvironmentEPA Grant Number: R829357
Title: Patterns and Prediction: Molecular Analyses of PAH-Degrading Microbial Populations and Their Function in Real Contaminant Mixture Environment
Investigators: Inskeep, William P. , Colores, Gregory C. , Ward, David M.
Current Investigators: Inskeep, William P. , Colores, Gregory C. , Hamamura, Natsuko , Ward, David M.
Institution: Montana State University - Bozeman
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2004 (Extended to September 30, 2005)
Project Amount: $634,430
RFA: Complex Chemical Mixtures (2000) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management , Safer Chemicals
The goals of our proposed interdisciplinary effort in environmental chemistry and microbial ecology are centered on linking molecular and functional analysis of microbial populations important in soil environments contaminated with different complex mixtures with the degradation and subsequent fate of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In collaboration with environmental managers at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, we will select a set of field sites contaminated with different mixture types (creosote, crude oil, diesel oil) and compare them with paired, artificially contaminated soil columns (macrocosms) that will enable us to examine the spatio-temporal dynamics of PAH-degrading microbial populations as influenced by contaminant mixture type, geographic location and compositional changes within mixtures related to transport phenomena. We will use contemporary molecular methods such as 16S rDNA and functional gene analysis to determine relationships between changes in mixture component chemistry and the succession of microbial populations responsible for PAH degradation in real soil-water environments. We will also develop novel molecular methods that enable us to link the degradation of PAHs with specific microbial populations. The proposed work will demonstrate that an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological determinants of niche diversity combined with novel methods to study population dynamics in complex mixture environments will improve our ability to model and predict microbial degradation rates of PAHs and provide ecologically sound foundations for designing effective bioremediation strategies.