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Can J Microbiol. 2000 Jan;46(1):38-49.

Hydrocarbon-degrading filamentous fungi isolated from flare pit soils in northern and western Canada.

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Department of Biological Sciences, CW405, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Sixty-four species of filamentous fungi from five flare pits in northern and western Canada were tested for their ability to degrade crude oil using gas chromatographic analysis of residual hydrocarbons following incubation. Nine isolates were tested further using radiorespirometry to determine the extent of mineralization of model radiolabelled aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons dissolved in crude oil. Hydrocarbon biodegradation capability was observed in species representing six orders of the Ascomycota. Gas chromatography indicated that species capable of hydrocarbon degradation attacked compounds within the aliphatic fraction of crude oil, n-C12-n-C26; degradation of compounds within the aromatic fraction was not observed. Radiorespirometry, using n-[1-14C]hexadecane and [9-14C]phenanthrene, confirmed the gas chromatographic results and verified that aliphatic compounds were being mineralized, not simply transformed to intermediate metabolites. This study shows that filamentous fungi may play an integral role in the in situ biodegradation of aliphatic pollutants in flare pit soils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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