98% (soil 1) and a maximum of 47.97% (soil 2) 14C-phenanthrene mineralized over the 35 days incubation period. 14C-phenanthrene mineralization JAK cancer was significantly
greater in the slurried system than at 22 °C for all the soils apart from soil 2. CFU of phenanthrene degraders and total heterotrophs present in the soils ranged between 104–106 and 103–104 CFU g−1. Results are shown in Fig. 3. The highest counts of phenanthrene degraders (1.53 × 104) were observed in soil 3 and the lowest (8.6 × 103) in soil 4. Only incubation in slurried conditions gave increases in both phenanthrene-degrading bacteria and total heterotrophs. Although the soils used in this study are from Livingstone Island, a sub-Antarctic Island, far from industrialized regions and limited human activity, PAHs were found in all the five soils at levels similar to those Antiinfection Compound Library in vitro reported in uncontaminated/pristine soils (Johnsen & Karlson, 2005; Cabrerizo et al., 2012). The higher presence of low molecular weight PAHs in the soils may
represent the sum of different contributions firstly, long-range transport of semi volatile organic pollutants to the Antarctic ecosystem. Wania & Mackay (1996) hypothesized that as PAHs are globally distributed, they fractionate according to the volatility of the individual compounds. Secondly, PAH fractionation can also occur locally (Wilcke et al., 1996). In the case of Livingstone Island, ships and human settlements could have served as local/regional PAH sources. Thirdly, potential autochthonous biogenic formation of PAHs from the degradation of organic matter (Aislabie et al., 1999; Wilcke, 2007; Cabrerizo et al., 2011). The presence of PAHs, especially low molecular weight biodegradable fractions, justify the generalized occurrence of phenanthrene degradable bacteria in these
soils (Aislabie et al., 1998). Respirometric assays, such as the one used in this study for the determination of indigenous microbial degradation of 14C-labelled organic compounds, have been employed in numerous studies (Macleod & Semple, 2006; Swindell Lck & Reid, 2006). The results described in this current study show that 14C-phenanthrene degradation was evident in all selected soils and generally increase with increasing temperature, as other studies have already pointed out (Atlas, 1975; Ferguson et al., 2003a, b). Biodegradation of hydrocarbons in contaminated Antarctic and sub-Antarctic soils has been found to be limited by low microbial activity, cold temperatures, nutrient availability, low water content and alkaline pH (Foght et al., 1999; Margesin & Schinner, 1999; Delille, 2000; Delille et al., 2004). Characterization of the five Livingstone Island soils used in this study revealed physicochemical properties consistent with those by which Antarctica soils are generally defined (Bockheim, 1997; Campbell & Claridge, 2009).