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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 May;26(5):283-9.

Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by Sphingomonas strains isolated from the terrestrial subsurface.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4470, USA.


Several strains of Sphingomonas isolated from deep Atlantic coastal plain aquifers at the US Department of Energy Savannah River Site (SRS) near Aiken, SC were shown to degrade a variety of aromatic hydrocarbons in a liquid culture medium. Sphingomonas aromaticivorans strain B0695 was the most versatile of the five strains examined. This strain was able to degrade acenaphthene, anthracene, phenanthrene, 2,3-benzofluorene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 2,3-dimethylnaphthalene, and fluoranthene in the presence of 400 mg l(-1) Tween 80. Studies involving microcosms composed of aquifer sediments showed that S. aromaticivorans B0695 could degrade phenanthrene effectively in sterile sediment and could enhance the rate at which this compound was degraded in nonsterile sediment. These findings indicate that it may be feasible to carry out (or, at least, to enhance) in situ bioremediation of phenanthrene-contaminated soils and subsurface environments with S. aromaticivorans B0695. In contrast, strain B0695 was unable to degrade fluoranthene in microcosms containing aquifer sediments, even though it readily degraded this polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) in a defined liquid growth medium.

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