Structure of microbial communities and hydrocarbon-dependent sulfate reduction in the anoxic layer of a polluted microbial mat

Raeid M M Abed, Niculina Musat, Florin Musat, Marc Mußmann

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The bacterial communities in the anoxic layer of a heavily polluted microbial mat and their growth on hydrocarbons under sulfate-reducing conditions were investigated. Microbial communities were dominated by members of Alphaproteobacteria (27% of the total rRNA), Planctomycetes (21.1%) and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB: 17.5%). 16S rRNA cloning revealed sequences beloning to the same bacterial groups with SRB affiliated to the genera Desulfobulbus, Desulfocapsa, Desulfomicrobium, Desulfobacterium and Desulfosarcina/. Desulfococcus. The derived enrichment cultures on crude oil, hexadecane and toluene were dominated by SRB. While most SRB sequences of the toluene and hexadecane cultures were related to the sequence of Desulfotignum toluolica, the crude oil enrichment showed a more diverse bacterial community with sequences from the genera Desulfotignum, Desulfobacter, Desulfatibacillus, Desulfosalina, and Desulfococcus. We conclude that the anoxic layer of the studied mats contains a diverse community of anaerobic bacteria, dominated by SRB, some of which are able to grow on hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011



  • Anoxic sediment
  • Clone libraries
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Microbial mats
  • Slot-blot hybridization
  • Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Pollution

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