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TitleA test method for the evaluation of soil microbial health in a petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated boreal forest soil
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRahn, J. H.
Pagination247 pages
Date Published05/2012
PublisherUniversity of Guelph Department of Environmental Biology (Toxicology)
Place PublishedGuelph Ontario.
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsanalytical methodology, forest, forest characteristics, hydrocarbon, microbiology, PAH, toxicity, VOC

A standardized method to examine soil microbial health incorporating biomass, activity, and diversity measurements is currently lacking, limiting the use of this ecologically relevant endpoint in ecological risk assessments. The soil microbial health of a petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated boreal forest soil, relative to a reference soil, was examined using a suite of tests. Microbial health impacts in the contaminated soil were observed using nitrification, organic matter decomposition, bait lamina, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, community level physiological profiling, and most enzyme assays. Results of heterotrophic plate count and respiration tests indicated higher culturable numbers and activity in the contaminated soil. A data integration technique was developed to incorporate the results from individual tests into an overall conclusion, indicating that soil contamination at the site moderately to severely impacted microbial health. The research presented lays the foundation for the development of a soil microbial health standardized method.

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