Presentation Title

Aqueous Film-Forming Foams and Associated Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Their Effects on Microbial Community Composition

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented the Friday of the conference

Abstract

Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) are composed of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic aliphatic compounds. When used to fight fires, these compounds are often released in large quantities directly into the environment. Due to the structural stability of PFAS, these compounds do not undergo spontaneous degradation under environmental conditions and are therefore prone to bioaccumulation in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Though the effect of PFAS on microbial community composition is not well understood, microbes perform certain ecological functions such as co-contaminant degradation, which may alter the composition of these compounds in the environment and influence patterns of community composition. To assess the effects of PFAS contamination on microbial community composition, soil samples were obtained from several contaminated sites, including airports, military training bases, and sites of previous fires, throughout Eastern Canada. DNA was extracted from samples and 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA gene sequencing was completed to characterize bacterial and fungal community composition, respectively. Community composition and diversity were compared using RStudio. This study is improving understanding of the functional consequences of PFAS exposure in microbial community composition and the bioremediation potential of certain bacterial species.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Eric Bottos and Jonathan Van Hamme

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Aqueous Film-Forming Foams and Associated Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: Their Effects on Microbial Community Composition

Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) are composed of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic aliphatic compounds. When used to fight fires, these compounds are often released in large quantities directly into the environment. Due to the structural stability of PFAS, these compounds do not undergo spontaneous degradation under environmental conditions and are therefore prone to bioaccumulation in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Though the effect of PFAS on microbial community composition is not well understood, microbes perform certain ecological functions such as co-contaminant degradation, which may alter the composition of these compounds in the environment and influence patterns of community composition. To assess the effects of PFAS contamination on microbial community composition, soil samples were obtained from several contaminated sites, including airports, military training bases, and sites of previous fires, throughout Eastern Canada. DNA was extracted from samples and 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA gene sequencing was completed to characterize bacterial and fungal community composition, respectively. Community composition and diversity were compared using RStudio. This study is improving understanding of the functional consequences of PFAS exposure in microbial community composition and the bioremediation potential of certain bacterial species.