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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2013 May;170(2):329-39. doi: 10.1007/s12010-013-0170-x. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

Distribution of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the soil environment and their contribution to bioremediation.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Science, Ritsumeikan University, 1-1-1 Nojihigashi, Kusatsu, Shiga, 525-8577, Japan.


A real-time PCR quantification method for indigenous hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (HDB) carrying the alkB gene in the soil environment was developed to investigate their distribution in soil. The detection limit of indigenous HDB by the method was 1 × 10(6) cells/g-soil. The indigenous HDB were widely distributed throughout the soil environment and ranged from 3.7 × 10(7) to 5.0 × 10(8) cells/g-soil, and the ratio to total bacteria was 0.1-4.3 %. The dynamics of total bacteria, indigenous HDB, and Rhodococcus erythropolis NDKK6 (carrying alkB R2) during bioremediation were analyzed. During bioremediation with an inorganic nutrient treatment, the numbers of these bacteria were slightly increased. The numbers of HDB (both indigenous bacteria and strain NDKK6) were gradually decreased from the middle stage of bioremediation. Meanwhile, the numbers of these bacteria were highly increased and were maintained during bioremediation with an organic nutrient. The organic treatment led to activation of not only the soil bacteria but also the HDB, so an efficient bioremediation was carried out.

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