Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 89, Issue 5, pp 1357–1371

Bacteria-mediated PAH degradation in soil and sediment


DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-3072-7

Cite this article as:
Lu, XY., Zhang, T. & Fang, H.HP. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2011) 89: 1357. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-3072-7


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous in the natural environment and easily accumulate in soil and sediment due to their low solubility and high hydrophobicity, rendering them less available for biological degradation. However, microbial degradation is a promising mechanism which is responsible for the ecological recovery of PAH-contaminated soil and sediment for removing these recalcitrant compounds compared with chemical degradation of PAHs. The goal of this review is to provide an outline of the current knowledge of biodegradation of PAHs in related aspects. Over 102 publications related to PAH biodegradation in soil and sediment are compiled, discussed, and analyzed. This review aims to discuss PAH degradation under various redox potential conditions, the factors affecting the biodegradation rates, degrading bacteria, the relevant genes in molecular monitoring methods, and some recent-year bioremediation field studies. The comprehensive understanding of the bioremediation kinetics and molecular means will be helpful for optimizing and monitoring the process, and overcoming its limitations in practical projects.


Bioremediation Biodegradation PAHs Microorganisms 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Ying Lu
    • 1
  • Tong Zhang
    • 1
  • Herbert Han-Ping Fang
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Biotechnology LaboratoryThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina