Microbial Ecology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 582–594 | Cite as

The Marine Isolate Novosphingobium sp. PP1Y Shows Specific Adaptation to Use the Aromatic Fraction of Fuels as the Sole Carbon and Energy Source

  • Eugenio NotomistaEmail author
  • Francesca Pennacchio
  • Valeria Cafaro
  • Giovanni Smaldone
  • Viviana Izzo
  • Luca Troncone
  • Mario Varcamonti
  • Alberto Di Donato
Environmental Microbiology


Novosphingobium sp. PP1Y, isolated from a surface seawater sample collected from a closed bay in the harbour of Pozzuoli (Naples, Italy), uses fuels as its sole carbon and energy source. Like some other Sphingomonads, this strain can grow as either planktonic free cells or sessile-aggregated flocks. In addition, this strain was found to grow as biofilm on several types of solid and liquid hydrophobic surfaces including polystyrene, polypropylene and diesel oil. Strain PP1Y is not able to grow on pure alkanes or alkane mixtures but is able to grow on a surprisingly wide range of aromatic compounds including mono, bi, tri and tetracyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic compounds. During growth on diesel oil, the organic layer is emulsified resulting in the formation of small biofilm-coated drops, whereas during growth on aromatic hydrocarbons dissolved in paraffin the oil layer is emulsified but the drops are coated only if the mixtures contain selected aromatic compounds, like pyrene, propylbenzene, tetrahydronaphthalene and heterocyclic compounds. These peculiar characteristics suggest strain PP1Y has adapted to efficiently grow at the water/fuel interface using the aromatic fraction of fuels as the sole carbon and energy source.


PAHs Aromatic Hydrocarbon Phenanthrene Aromatic Fraction Novosphingobium 
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.



The authors are indebted to Prof. Maurilio De Felice, Università di Napoli Federico II, for critically reading the manuscript.

This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of University and Research (PRIN/2007).

Supplementary material

248_2010_9786_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (5.4 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5.42 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugenio Notomista
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Francesca Pennacchio
    • 1
  • Valeria Cafaro
    • 1
  • Giovanni Smaldone
    • 1
  • Viviana Izzo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luca Troncone
    • 1
  • Mario Varcamonti
    • 1
  • Alberto Di Donato
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Strutturale e FunzionaleUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Facoltà di Scienze BiotecnologicheUniversità di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  3. 3.CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate

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