Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Jan;6(1):278-309. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6010278. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

Bacterial degradation of aromatic compounds.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


Aromatic compounds are among the most prevalent and persistent pollutants in the environment. Petroleum-contaminated soil and sediment commonly contain a mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic aromatics. Aromatics derived from industrial activities often have functional groups such as alkyls, halogens and nitro groups. Biodegradation is a major mechanism of removal of organic pollutants from a contaminated site. This review focuses on bacterial degradation pathways of selected aromatic compounds. Catabolic pathways of naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, and benzo[a]pyrene are described in detail. Bacterial catabolism of the heterocycles dibenzofuran, carbazole, dibenzothiophene, and dibenzodioxin is discussed. Bacterial catabolism of alkylated PAHs is summarized, followed by a brief discussion of proteomics and metabolomics as powerful tools for elucidation of biodegradation mechanisms.


Bioremediation; PAHs; biodegradation; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk