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Phenanthrene stimulates the degradation of pyrene and fluoranthene by Burkholderia sp. VUN10013

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Pyrene and fluoranthene, when supplied as the sole carbon source, were not degraded by Burkholderia sp. VUN10013. However, when added in a mixture with phenanthrene, both pyrene and fluoranthene were degraded in liquid broth and soil. The amounts of pyrene and fluoranthene in liquid media (initial concentrations of 50 mg l−1 each) decreased to 42.1% and 41.1%, respectively, after 21 days. The amounts of pyrene and fluoranthene in soil (initial concentrations of 75 mg kg−1 dry soil each) decreased to 25.8% and 12.1%, respectively, after 60 days. None of the high molecular weight (HMW) polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) tested adversely affected phenanthrene degradation by this bacterial strain and the amount of phenanthrene decreased rapidly within 3 and 15 days of incubation in liquid broth and soil, respectively. Anthracene also stimulated the degradation of pyrene or fluoranthene by Burkholderia sp. VUN10013, but to a lesser extent than phenanthrene. The extent of anthracene degradation decreased in the presence of these HMW PAHs.

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We acknowledge the financial support from the Thailand Research Fund through the Royal Golden Jubilee Ph.D. Program (Grant No. PHD/0127/2545) to student (Khanitta Somtrakoon) and advisor (Suchart Upatham). We thank the Post-Graduate Education, Training and Research Program in Environmental Science, Technology and Management for the permission to use GC-MS instrument, and the Land Development Regional Office 2 (Chonburi, Thailand) for soil analysis.

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Correspondence to Khanitta Somtrakoon or Suchart Upatham.

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Somtrakoon, K., Suanjit, S., Pokethitiyook, P. et al. Phenanthrene stimulates the degradation of pyrene and fluoranthene by Burkholderia sp. VUN10013. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 24, 523–531 (2008).

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  • Anthracene
  • Biodegradation
  • Burkholderia sp.
  • Co-metabolism
  • Fluoranthene
  • Phenanthrene
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
  • Pyrene