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Title: Molecular microbiology of hydrocarbon polluted groundwater
Author: Frau, Alessandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 9153
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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The thesis is focused on the study of the microbiology of groundwater contaminated by diesel with three main goals. Firstly, to characterize the natural attenuation process, secondly, to increase knowledge of the role of microorganisms in the remediation of polluted environments and thirdly, to evaluate the efficacy of molecular biology methods to assess the in situ biodegradation potential of the microorganisms in such contaminated areas. This study includes the metagenomic characterization of the microbial community through the exploitation of next-generation sequencing techniques and the quantification of key biodegrative genes as biomarkers. Moreover, several strategies were put in place to understand the role of an uncultivated bacterial phylum (the OD1 candidate division) in the biodegradation of organic pollutants. These included the design of primer sets for the amplification of a functional gene specific for OD1 and the phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences assigned to OD1 from several studies and a public database. A main outcome has been the characterization of the natural attenuation process in the site. A network of fermentative syntrophic bacteria and methanogenic archaea are the likely the protagonists of this process. The role of OD1 in the fermentation process was proposed. A thorough analysis of OD1 distribution has been carried out and phylogenetic cluster of ODl clades involved in this complex trophic network of fermentative bacteria and methanogens was identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available