Karlsson CMG, Cerro-Gálvez E, Lundin D, Karlsson C, Vila-Costa M, Pinhassi J
Microb Biotechnol 12 (5) 892-906 [2019-09-00; online 2019-07-04]
Organic pollutants (OPs) are critically toxic, bioaccumulative and globally widespread. Moreover, several OPs negatively influence aquatic wildlife. Although bacteria are major drivers of the ocean carbon cycle and the turnover of vital elements, there is limited knowledge of OP effects on heterotrophic bacterioplankton. We therefore investigated growth and gene expression responses of the Baltic Sea model bacterium Rheinheimera sp. BAL341 to environmentally relevant concentrations of distinct classes of OPs in 2-h incubation experiments. During exponential growth, exposure to a mix of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, alkanes and organophosphate esters (denoted MIX) resulted in a significant decrease (between 9% and 18%) in bacterial abundance and production compared with controls. In contrast, combined exposure to perfluorooctanesulfonic acids and perfluorooctanoic acids (denoted PFAS) had no significant effect on growth. Nevertheless, MIX and PFAS exposures both induced significant shifts in gene expression profiles compared with controls in exponential growth. This involved several functional metabolism categories (e.g. stress response and fatty acids metabolism), some of which were pollutant-specific (e.g. phosphate acquisition and alkane-1 monooxygenase genes). In stationary phase, only two genes in the MIX treatment were significantly differentially expressed. The substantial direct influence of OPs on metabolism during bacterial growth suggests that widespread OPs could severely alter biogeochemical processes governed by bacterioplankton.