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Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by an acidophilic Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain AJH1 isolated from a mineral mining site in Saudi Arabia

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The present study aims at analyzing the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at acidic conditions (pH = 2) by acidophilic Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain AJH1 (KU664513). The strain AJH1 was obtained from an enrichment culture obtained from soil samples of mining area in the presence of PAH as sole sources of carbon and energy. Strain AJH1was able to degrade low (anthracene, phenanthrene, naphthalene, fluorene) and high (pyrene, benzo(e)pyrene and benzo(k)fluoranthene) molecular weight PAHs in acidophilic mineral salt medium at pH 2, with removal rates of up to 95% (LMW PAH) and 80% (HMW PAH), respectively. In addition, strain AJH1 treated petroleum wastewater with 89 ± 1.1% COD removal under acidic condition (pH 2) in a continuously stirred reactor. Acidophilic S. maltophilia strain AJH1, hence holds the promise as an effective degrader for biological treatment of PAHs contaminated wastewater at acidic pH.

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This project was funded by the National Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (MAARIFAH)—King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology—the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—Award Number (11-ENV2012-03). The authors also, acknowledge with thanks Science and Technology Unit, King Abdulaziz University for technical support. The authors thank Petro Rabigh, Saudi Arabia for providing the wastewater samples. The authors also thank Dr. Lukas Y. Wick, Department of Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Germany for his guidance as a consultant during the project work.

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Correspondence to P. Arulazhagan.

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Communicated by H. Atomi.

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Arulazhagan, P., Al-Shekri, K., Huda, Q. et al. Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by an acidophilic Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain AJH1 isolated from a mineral mining site in Saudi Arabia. Extremophiles 21, 163–174 (2017).

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