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Friday, December 3 • 5:40pm - 5:50pm
OP 32 - Multispecies cities in the Anthropocene: bioremediation and biomining potential of the Gowanus Canal Microbiome, an urban Superfund site

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Microbial survival in the Anthropocene: Bioremediation and biomining potential of a superfund site - the Gowanus Canal

Presenting Author: Chandrima Bhattacharya, Weill Cornell Medicine

Rupobrata Panja, CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology
Ian Quate
Matthew Seibert
Ellen Jorgensen
Christopher Mason, Weill Cornell Medicine
Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, SUNY
Elizabeth Henaff, NYU

Abstract: The environment of the Gowanus Canal in New York City is emblematic of the many post-industrial Superfund sites across the country. Many of these locations were important hubs for manufacturing industries or research and development, and have now been abandoned, leaving a legacy of toxicity and pollutants not only in the canal itself but also in the surrounding areas. We explore microbial bioremediation of hazardous polluted sites as a promising field of study, especially when it is possible to potentially mine the microbes for novel secondary metabolites, including identification of molecules related to microbial multi-drug resistance as well as species harboring extreme adaptability characteristics. We present the largest metagenomic analysis consisting of both longitudinal study and depth-based study of sediment from the Gowanus Canal. We identify extremophiles as well as marine and freshwater sediment species and demonstrate enrichment of bioremediation-related metabolic pathways. These metabolisms include remediation of industrial pollutants of historical significance to the industrialization of the area including heavy metals and organic pollutants. We identify a cluster of genes related to antimicrobial resistance present in the Canal microbiome. Our findings on the Gowanus Canal microcosm usher in the potential of discovery and research on other extreme environments for novel species and secondary metabolites from biosynthetic gene clusters. We can conclude microbes associated with Extreme Environments including those in Superfund Sites can show adaptation to not only remediate and clean up hazardous material but also produce significant secondary metabolites with prospective biological significance to make life better in the Anthropocene.


Friday December 3, 2021 5:40pm - 5:50pm MST
Ballroom Salon 1