Investigating a lotic microbial community following a severe detergent spill

Amitai Or, Uri Gophna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large non-ionic detergent spill affected the Yarqon stream, where water sampling was performed prior to the spill as a part of the stream's routine sampling and during and after the event. Following the spill, a large foam layer was observed for about 3-4 days accompanied by death of all fauna in the stream. Despite a large quantity of freshwater that was introduced to the stream as an emergency measure, a drastic decrease in dissolved oxygen was also observed. A rapid reduction in bacterial diversity and richness, as measured by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis, was also evident, as microbial assemblages changes accompanied pollutant exposure. However, this analysis showed that the microbial assemblages of the stream were quick to recover and became similar to pre-spill communities as early as a week after the spill. These findings suggest that bacterial assemblages are much more robust to large anthropogenic disturbances than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University


    • Bacteria
    • Detergents
    • Recovery
    • Spill
    • Stream


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