Protein Expression in Response to Oil in a Marine Hydrocarbon Degrading Bacterium Isolated from Tampa Bay, Florida

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Florida Southern College
Bacteria that are capable of oil degradation play a large role in bioremediation of hydrocarbon based pollutants in their environment. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there has been a push to discover the species of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria naturally present in an area and their precise role in bioremediation in a hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial consortium. As part of our preliminary data, we cultured, isolated, and identified through 16S rRNA gene sequencing, marine oil degrading bacteria from the coastlines of Central Florida. We selected a species of Oceanobacillus from this screen for further study, as other Oceanobacillus species are known to degrade hydrocarbons. However, the proteins utilized for hydrocarbon metabolism in Oceanobacillus and other facultative oil degraders are currently unknown. Our study focused on the differences in protein expression when a opportunistic oil-degrading bacterium, Oceanobacillus sp., was exposed to an oil enriched or unaltered marine growth medium. These differences can provide insight into proteins that may be critical for oil degradation in Oceanobacillus sp. and other facultative oil degrading bacteria. Understanding the mechanism behind hydrocarbon degradation in this and other facultative hydrocarbon degrading species will provide insight into how a complex marine bacterial consortium can metabolize naturally occurring and pollutant hydrocarbons.
Honors thesis Spring 2019
Bioremediation, Pollution, Marine bioremediation, Tampa Bay (Fla.)