Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 267–273 | Cite as

Enumeration and characterization of the soil microflora from hydrocarbon-contaminated soil sites able to mineralize polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)

  • M. Kästner
  • M. Breuer-Jammali
  • B. Mahro
Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology Original Paper


The use of a plate screening technique allowed the direct isolation and quantification of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria from different soil sites. Bacteria that were able to grow on anthracene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene or pyrene as a sole carbon source were found with numbers between 103 and 105 colony-forming units (cfu)/g of soil dry weight, but only in samples that originated from PAH-contaminated sites. No isolates were found that could grow on perylene, triphenylene, benzo(a)pyrene or chrysene as sole carbon source. Bacteria that had been selected on the same PAH substrate showed a related degradation pattern for both other PAH and oil compounds and carbohydrate substrates even if they had been collected at distant soil sites. Based on these findings the isolates could be clustered into four different catabolic and taxonomic similarity groups. Taxonomic determination of representative isolates suggested that nocardioform actinomycetes of the genera Mycobacterium, Rhodococcus and Gordona represented a major part of the soil microflora able to mineralize PAH. Three new isolates able to grow on anthracene, pyrene or fluoranthene as the sole carbon source, respectively, have been isolated and identified (Sphingomonas paucimobilis BA2, Gordona sp. BP9, Mycobacterium sp. VF1). The ubiquitous presence of a potent and versatile mineralizing microflora in PAH-contaminated soils indicated that the microflora is not the limiting factor for the degradation of PAH with up to four rings.


Polycylic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Pyrene Anthracene Sole Carbon Source Fluoranthene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kästner
    • 1
  • M. Breuer-Jammali
    • 1
  • B. Mahro
    • 1
  1. 1.Section Biotechnology IITechnical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH)HambergGermany

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