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Utilization of n-alkanes by a newly isolated strain of Acinetobacter venetianus: the role of two AlkB-type alkane hydroxylases


A bacterial strain capable of utilizing n-alkanes with chain lengths ranging from decane (C10H22) to tetracontane (C40H82) as a sole carbon source was isolated using a system for screening microorganisms able to grow on paraffin (mixed long-chain n-alkanes). The isolate, identified according to its 16S rRNA sequence as Acinetobacter venetianus, was designated A. venetianus 6A2. Two DNA fragments encoding parts of AlkB-type alkane hydroxylase homologues, designated alkMa and alkMb, were polymerase chain reaction-amplified from the genome of A. venetianus 6A2. To study the roles of these two alkM paralogues in n-alkane utilization in A. venetianus 6A2, we constructed alkMa, alkMb, and alkMa/alkMb disruption mutants. Studies on the growth patterns of the disruption mutants using n-alkanes with different chain lengths as sole carbon source demonstrated central roles for the alkMa and alkMb genes in utilization of C10 to C18 n-alkanes. Comparative analysis of these patterns also suggested different substrate preferences for AlkMa and AlkMb in n-alkane utilization. Because both single and double mutants were able to grow on n-alkanes with chain lengths of C20 and longer, we concluded that yet another enzyme(s) for the utilization of these n-alkanes must exist in A. venetianus 6A2.

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This project was supported by the VISTA foundation and Statoil AS.

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Correspondence to Mimmi Throne-Holst.

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Throne-Holst, M., Markussen, S., Winnberg, A. et al. Utilization of n-alkanes by a newly isolated strain of Acinetobacter venetianus: the role of two AlkB-type alkane hydroxylases. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 72, 353–360 (2006).

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  • Sole Carbon Source
  • Acinetobacter
  • Disruption Mutant
  • alkB Gene
  • Solid Droplet