Evaluation of a creosote-based medium for the growth and preparation of a PAH-degrading bacterial community for bioaugmentation

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Creosote was evaluated as an inexpensive carbon source for growing inocula of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacterial community (community five). Creosote was a poor growth substrate when provided as sole carbon source in a basal salts solution (BSM). Alternatively, peptone, yeast extract or glucose in BSM supported high growth rates, but community five could not subsequently degrade pyrene. A combination of creosote and yeast extract in BSM (CYEM) supported growth and maintained the pyrene-degrading capacity of community five. Optimum pyrene-degrading activity occurred when the inocula were grown in creosote and yeast extract concentrations of 2 ml L−1 and 1 g L−1 respectively: concentrations outside these values resulted in either low biomass yields or loss of PAH-degrading activity. CYEM-grown community five inocula degraded 250 mg L−1 of pyrene in BSM at a rate comparable to cultures inoculated with community five grown in BSM-pyrene. However, the CYEM-grown community showed a 40% lower rate of PAH degradation in a synthetic PAH mixture compared with pyrene-grown cells and there was an increase in the lag period before the onset of PAH degradation. This appears to reflect a weaker induction of PAH catabolism by CYEM compared to BSM-pyrene. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (2000) 24, 277–284.

Received 24 August 1999/ Accepted in revised form 20 January 2000