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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2019  

  Abstract:  Sundarban is the largest single stretch of halophytic coastal mangroves in the world. In recent years, several metagenomic studies have been performed which aimed at revealing the community structure of the resident microbial population of these saline coastal forests. The results revealed a striking difference in the distribution pattern of the resident archaeal population, with an increased population of Haloarchaea in regions with traditional histories of hydrocarbon/oil pollution. However, no studies have yet been performed to understand the active fraction of the resident microbial population of these mangroves. Thus, our study focused on both understanding the active fraction of the resident archaeal population of Sundarban along with an attempt at isolation and characterization of hydrocarbon degrading haloarchaea from these mangrove sediments. A total of 11 haloarchaeal isolates showed promise in their abilities to survive in presence of pHBA. A detailed biochemical characterization followed along with preliminary studies into their abilities to survive in presence of different hydrocarbons. The 11 isolates showed varying abilities to survive in presence of four different hydrocarbons in both rich and minimal media. HPLC analysis of 4 of the most potent strains when grown in pHBA showed a considerable percentage of decrease in hydrocarbon concentration over time. Trials using these 4 isolates to reduce the COD of polluted water of Sundarban regions also showed positive results. Thus, overall, these results show promise in the possible use of these haloarchaeal isolates as possible bioremediation agents especially in regions under high saline stress such as the Sundarban mangroves.

Keywords: haloarchaea, HPLC, hydrocarbon degradation, mangroves.
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