Update: there is a second post on the subject: go ahead!
There is a post about basics in microbiology at Aetiology (though it is dealing with human commensals only). You may go and check, it’s as interesting as a recent post about Petri dishes‘ history…Makes me remember a professor ten years ago, telling us that ecology of microbes was completely overlooked. It’s amazing to see that, though people tried to look into microbiomes and microbionts, we are still not knowing much about all of this.
By the way, it reminds me also of Little Sister’s work on microbiological flora that degrades oil residues:Penet, S., Vendeuvre, C., Bertoncini, F., Marchal, R., and F. Monot. 2006. Characterisation of biodegradation capacities of environmental microflorae for diesel oil by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography. BIODEGRADATION, 17 (6): 577-585
In contaminated soils, efficiency of natural attenuation or engineered bioremediation largely depends on biodegradation capacities of the local microflorae. In the present study, the biodegradation capacities of various microflorae towards diesel oil were determined in laboratory conditions. Microflorae were collected from 9 contaminated and 10 uncontaminated soil samples and were compared to urban wastewater activated sludge. The recalcitrance of hydrocarbons in tests was characterised using both gas chromatography (GC) and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC). The microflorae from contaminated soils were found to exhibit higher degradation capacities than those from uncontaminated soil and activated sludge. In cultures inoculated by contaminated-soil microflorae, 80% of diesel oil on an average was consumed over 4-week incubation compared to only 64% in uncontaminated soil and 60% in activated sludge cultures. As shown by GC, n-alkanes of diesel oil were totally utilised by each microflora but differentiated degradation extents were observed for cyclic and branched hydrocarbons. The enhanced degradation capacities of impacted-soil microflorae resulted probably from an adaptation to the hydrocarbon contaminants but a similar adaptation was noted in uncontaminated soils when conifer trees might have released natural hydrocarbons. GCxGC showed that a contaminated-soil microflora removed all aromatics and all branched alkanes containing less than C-15. The most recalcitrant compounds were the branched and cyclic alkanes with 15-23 atoms of carbon.