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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 1998 Jan;49(1):117-21.

Utilization of sorbed compounds by microorganisms specifically isolated for that purpose.

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  • 1Department of Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


A bacterium obtained by enrichment on nonsorbed phenanthrene was unable to degrade phenanthrene sorbed to polyacrylic beads and had little activity on phenanthrene sorbed to lake-bottom sediment. A bacterium obtained by enrichment on phenanthrene sorbed to polyacrylic beads readily mineralized the compound sorbed to the beads or the sediment. Degradation by the second bacterium of phenanthrene sorbed to beads 38-63 microns or 63-150 microns in diameter was more rapid than the rate of desorption of the hydrocarbon in the absence of the bacterium. Little degradation of sorbed, nonleachable phenanthrene in soil was effected by another isolate obtained by enrichment with the nonsorbed hydrocarbon, but a mixed culture and the bacterium obtained by enrichment on the sorbed compound extensively degraded phenanthrene. Because microorganisms specifically obtained for their capacity to degrade sorbed phenanthrene are more active than species not specialized for use of the bound compound, we suggest that microorganisms enriched on nonsorbed compounds may not be appropriate for evaluation of biodegradation and bioremediation of sorbed compounds.

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