Although Phragmites australis is commonly planted in constructed wetlands, very little is known about its roots-associated bacterial communities, especially in wetlands used for the remediation of oil produced waters. Here, we describe the bacterial diversity, using molecular (illumina MiSeq sequencing) and cultivation techniques, in the rhizosphere soils of P. australis from an oil-polluted wetland in Oman. The obtained isolates were tested for their plant-growth promoting properties. Most sequences belonged to Proteobacteria, Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes. Sequences of potential hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (e.g. Ochrobactrum, and Pseudomonas) were frequently encountered. All soils contained sequences of known sulfur-oxidizing (e.g. Thiobacillus, Thiofaba, Rhodobacter and Sulfurovum) and sulfate-reducing bacteria, although the latter group made up only 0.1% to 3% of total sequences. The obtained isolates from the rhizosphere soils were phylogenetically affiliated to Serratia, Acinetobacter, Xenorhabdus, Escherichia and Salmonella. All strains were able to solubilize phosphate and about half were capable of producing organic acids and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase. Around 42% of the strains had the ability to produce indole acetic acid and siderophores. We conclude that the rhizosphere soils of P. australis in oil polluted wetlands harbor diverse bacterial communities that could enhance the wetland performance through hydrocarbon degradation, nutrient cycling and supporting plant growth.
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