Gram-positive, non-spore-forming, non-acid-fast, rod-shaped aerobic bacteria with the ability to desulfurize dibenzothiophene (DBT) or dibenzosulfone (DBTO2) were isolated from soil samples contaminated with fossil fuels. Using a bioavailability method, cells with the desired DbtS+ phenotype were enriched. Modified fluorescence and colorimetric assays were used for the initial detection of 2-hydroxybiphenyl (OH-BP) in microtiter plates; subsequently, isolates were grown in wells of microtiter plates and screened for the production of desulfurization product. Fluorescence under UV light and the production of colored product in the phenol assay were used as presumptive indications of production of OH-BP. Confirmation of the presence of OH-BP was achieved with HPLC, UV-absorbance, and mass spectrometry. Nutrient utilization and fatty acid composition (as discerned with Biolog plates and gas chromatography, respectively) were used to identify presumptively the strains as Rhodococcus erythropolis; colony and cell morphology may not be consistent with the identification achieved by nutrient utilization and fatty acid composition. The desulfurization end product, OH-BP, can not be used as carbon source by the tested strain, N1-36.