Subsurface microorganisms must deal with quite extreme environmental conditions. The lack of light, oxygen, and potentially nutrients are the main environmental stresses faced by subsurface microbial communities. Likewise, environmental disruptions providing an unbalanced positive input of nutrients force microorganisms to adapt to varying conditions, visible in the changes in microbial community diversity. In order to test microbial community adaptation to environmental changes, we performed a study in a surface Managed Aquifer Recharge facility, consisting of a settlement basin (two-day residence time) and an infiltration pond. Data on groundwater hydrochemistry, soil texture, and microbial characterization was compiled from surface water, groundwater, and soil samples at two distinct recharge operation conditions. Multivariate statistics by means of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was the technique used to map the relevant dimensionality reduced combinations of input variables that properly describe the system behavior. The methodology selected allows including variables of different nature and displaying very different range values. Strong differences in the microbial assemblage under recharge conditions were found, coupled to hydrochemistry and grain-size distribution variables. Also, some microbial groups displayed correlations with either carbon or nitrogen cycles, especially showing abundant populations of denitrifying bacteria in groundwater. A significant correlation was found between Methylotenera mobilis and the concentrations of NO3 and SO4, and also between Vogesella indigofera and the presence of DOC in the infiltrating water. Also, microbial communities present at the bottom of the pond correlated with representative descriptors of soil grain size distribution.

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Published on 01/01/2019

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.02.079
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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