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Mar Pollut Bull. 2009 Feb;58(2):256-62. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.09.017. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Role of a moderately halophilic bacterial consortium in the biodegradation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

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  • 1Centre for Environmental Studies, Anna University, Guindy, Chennai - 600 025, India.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are ubiquitous pollutants in the environment, and most high molecular weight PAHs cause mutagenic, teratogenic and potentially carcinogenic effects. While several strains have been identified that degrade PAHs, the present study is focused on the degradation of PAHs in a marine environment by a moderately halophilic bacterial consortium. The bacterial consortium was isolated from a mixture of marine water samples collected from seven different sites in Chennai, India. The low molecular weight (LMW) PAHs phenanthrene and fluorine, and the high molecular weight (HMW) PAHs pyrene and benzo(e)pyrene were selected for the degradation study. The consortium metabolized both LMW and HMW PAHs. The consortium was also able to degrade PAHs present in crude oil-contaminated saline wastewater. The bacterial consortium was able to degrade 80% of HMW PAHs and 100% of LMW PAHs in the saline wastewater. The strains present in the consortium were identified as Ochrobactrum sp., Enterobacter cloacae and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. This study reveals that these bacteria have the potential to degrade different PAHs in saline wastewater.

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