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Journal Article 
Bacterial degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface sediments of coastal ecosystems 
Montgomery, MT; Osburn, CL; Boyd, TJ; Reatherford, S; Smith, DC 
Journal of Soil Contamination
ISSN: 1058-8337 
Petroleum-derived compounds can accumulate in surface sediments and change the associated biota. Thus, the effect of various chemical and physical conditions on bacterial production and aromatic hydrocarbon mineralization in surface sediments of five coastal ecosystems that have significant anthropogenic impacts was studied. Sediment from temperate coastal systems had large seasonal variation in mineralization rates and turnover times of sentinel aromatic hydrocarbons (i.e., naphthalene, phenanthrene, and fluoranthene, although there was little correlation with temperature. Aromatic hydrocarbon mineralization, as measured using 14C-radiotracer additions, was dramatically reduced when bottom water dissolved oxygen saturation was below 70%. Ambient hydrocarbon concentration below 10 μg/g sediment did not support bacterial assemblages capable of rapid mineralization of the hydrocarbons. In many ecosystems, high PAH concentration correlated with low bacterial production, although this was not seen in Pearl Harbor. In this tropical ecosystem, production generally increased with PAH concentration, as did PAH mineralization.