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Biotechnol Lett. 2003 Sep;25(17):1441-4.

Microbial degradation of high and low molecular weight polyaromatic hydrocarbons in a two-phase partitioning bioreactor by two strains of Sphingomonas sp.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.


A mixture of six polyaromatic hydrocarbons (naphthalene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, chyrysene and benzo[a]pyrene), varying in size from 2 to 5 rings, was dissolved in dodecane, and used as the delivery phase of a partitioning bioreactor. Two species of Sphingomonas were then used individually, and as a consortium, to determine which of the PAHs were degraded. Only low molecular weight PAHs (naphthalene, phenanthrene and fluoranthene) were degraded by the individual strains, but the consortium degraded all substrates either to completion or near completion.

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