Comparative characterization of microbial communities that inhabit PFAS-rich contaminated sites: A case-control study

S. T.M.L.D. Senevirathna, K. C.Bal Krishna, Reza Mahinroosta, Arumugam Sathasivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The historic usage and discharge of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) containing chemicals have produced many contaminated sites and PFAS contamination has become a global concern due to their persistence, widespread distribution, and potential adverse impacts for human and environmental health. However, there have been limited investigations on the specific behavior of bacterial communities in PFAS contaminated soils. In this study, a quantitative PCR assay and Illumina MiSeq sequencing were used to investigate the variations of bacterial communities in a regional Australian airport contaminated with PFAS. The dominate PFAS detected in soil samples was Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which accounted for 82% of total PFAS and the maximum PFOS level was noted (20,947±1824 ng.PFOS/mg.Soil) at the top soil. Irrespective of the degree of PFAS contamination at different depths, the comparable percentile contribution of each PFAS was observed in soil samples. Significantly higher bacteria amplicon sequence variant (ASV) and diversity were noted in uncontaminated soil than PFAS contaminated soil. Bacterial genera Rhodanobacter and Chujaibacter were dominant in the PFAS contaminated soil. Three different bacterial genera of Alphaproteobacteria, Ambiguous taxa of Acidobacteriia, and genus Chujaibacter of Gammaproteobacteria showed a significant positive correlation and RB41, Gaiella showed a significant negative correlation with 11 different PFAS concentrations. Overall, the results presented in this study suggest that the counts and species diversity of soil microorganisms are adversely influenced by PFAS contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126941
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue numberPt A
Early online date20 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 05 Feb 2022


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