Journal of Industrial Microbiology

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 361–366 | Cite as

Alternative method for rapidly screening microbial isolates for their potential to degrade volatile contaminants

  • Janet M. Strong-Gunderson
  • Anthony V. Palumbo


A method is described for rapidly screening the metabolic potential of bacteria to oxidize semivolatile and volatile compounds as a sole carbon source. The method is based on automated system that utilizes MicroplatesTM manufactured by Biolog, Inc. (Hayward, CA, USA). This system detects bacterial respiratory activity from the oxidation of a carbon source introduced in volatile form. This is in contrast to the original design, which is based on inoculating a carbon source directly into each well. The 96-well (MT) microtiter plates contain nutrients and a tetrazolium dye. When a bacterial species is capable of oxidizing a volatile carbon substrate, the dye turns purple, and a spectrophotometric plate reader quantifies the response. As a test of this method 150 isolates, including isolates known to degrade some of the test compounds and negative controls were evaluated for their potential to oxidize carbon tetrachloride, toluene, ando-xylene. Thirty-seven isolates (25%) were qualitatively identified as contaminant oxidizers, and thirteen of these (35%) showed significant degradation capabilities for both toluene ando-xylene.

Key words

Bioremediation Volatile organic contaminants Carbon tetrachloride Toluene o-xylene 


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet M. Strong-Gunderson
    • 1
  • Anthony V. Palumbo
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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