Microbial Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 110–119

Numerical and Genetic Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon-Degrading Mycobacteria


    • Division of MicrobiologyNational Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration
  • Karl-H. Engesser
    • Abteilung Biologische Abluftreinigung, Institut für Siedlungswasserbau, Wassergüteund Abfallwirtschaft (ISWA)Universität Stuttgart
  • Carl E. Cerniglia
    • Division of MicrobiologyNational Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration

DOI: 10.1007/s00248-004-0126-3

Cite this article as:
Kim, Y., Engesser, K. & Cerniglia, C.E. Microb Ecol (2005) 50: 110. doi:10.1007/s00248-004-0126-3


Ability to degrade high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been found in diverse species of fast-growing mycobacteria. This study included several PAH-degrading mycobacteria from heavily contaminated sites and an uncontaminated humus soil in the Natural Park, Schwäbische Alb, Germany. The numerical analysis with a total of 131 tests showed that isolates from humus soil and contaminated sites had similar substrate utilization patterns for primary alcohols from ethanol to pentanol, 1,4-butanediol, benzyl alcohol, hexadecane, ethyl acetate, fluoranthene, phenanthrene, and pyrene as the sole carbon and energy (C/E) sources. Significant differences between the two subgroups isolated from humus soil and contaminated sites were observed in the utilization of polyalcoholic sugars, including adonitol, D-arabitol, L-arabitol, erythritol, inositol, rhamnose, sorbitol, and xylitol. Among isolates from humus soil, strain PYR100 showed high similarity in 16S rDNA sequence with M. vanbaalenii strain PYR-1 (=DSM 7251, 100%) and M. austroafricanum ATCC 33464 (99.9%). In addition to the numerical analysis, the 16S–23S intergenic spacer sequence was useful for discriminating between the closely related strains PYR100 and PYR-1 (98% similarity). The patterns of the variable V2 and V3 regions in the ribosomal RNA gene corresponding to Escherichia coli positions 179 to 197 and 1006 to 1023, respectively, were useful for dividing fast-growing and thermosensitive PAH-degrading mycobacteria into ten subgroups consistent with the phylogenetic positions.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005