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Title: Metagenomic studies on the microbial communities facilitating aromatic hydrocarbons degradation in diverse environments
Author: Dabai, Aliyu Ibrahim
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1524
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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Metagenomic is a technique that involves the study of environmental DNA and negates the need for cultivation of microorganisms in the laboratory. The techniques have been shown to have tremendous potential for the advancement of knowledge in numerous fields such as microbial ecology, Agriculture, e.t.c. The research question this work seek to address is that ‘can we apply at least one metagenomic approach to demonstrate an improved understanding of the microbiology of a contaminated soil environment. If we can answer this question, then it is possible to develop a rapid approach to confirm whether the soil environment is contaminated, whether aerobic or anaerobic degradation is occurring in the contaminated environment and for crude oil spill characterisation in the Niger Delta. If we combine the information obtained through metagenomic approach with stable isotope probing (Metagenome-SIP), then key anaerobic benzene degrading-bacteria could be identified in the Niger Delta contaminated soil samples. Using the metagenomic-SIP information, we assess whether the same organism degrading benzene under anaerobic condition could degrade a lignin-derived phenolic compound (vanillin). The information will enable us to develop an inexpensive approach for biostimulation approach for the clean-up of the Niger Delta environment using the plant-derived waste material. The key finding of this research work include: the Niger Delta soil samples were contaminated with crude oil, aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation are important in the contaminated site, the contamination is of two class namely one set of soil are newly or freshly contaminated, and the other set is old contaminated site, microbial phyla such as Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria were the most abundant microbial group in the contaminated soils, lllumina data uncovered the diversity of microbial community structure of the contaminated soil environment compared to the amplicon pyrosequencing data, benzene was syntrophically degraded by β-proteobacteria, δ-proteobacteria, and Clostridia while vanillin degradation was by α-Proteobacteria (order Sphingomonadales). These organisms are important in the biodegradation of the benzene and vanillin aromatic compounds, and essential hydrocarbon degradation genes detected the role of these bacteria in the utilization of such compounds. The qPCR gene ratio approach could be used as a diagnostic method for spill characterisation. The knowledge gained from the results will influence any decision towards the clean-up/monitoring of bioremediation strategy to apply on the heavily polluted Niger Delta.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available