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Bioresour Technol. 2001 May;78(1):47-54.

Detection of catabolic genes in indigenous microbial consortia isolated from a diesel-contaminated soil.

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Institute of Engineering, National University of Mexico, Coyocan.


Bioremediation is often used for in situ remediation of petroleum-contaminated sites. The primary focus of this study was on understanding the indigenous microbial community which can survive in contaminated environment and is responsible for the degradation. Diesel. toluene and naphthalene-degrading microbial consortia were isolated from diesel-contaminated soil by growing on selective hydrocarbon substrates. The presence and frequency of the catabolic genes responsible for aromatic hydrocarbon biodegradation (xylE, ndoB) within the isolated consortia were screened using polymerase chain reaction PCR and DNA DNA colony hybridization. The diesel DNA-extract possessed both the xy/E catabolic gene for toluene, and the nah catabolic gene for polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon degradation. The toluene DNA-extract possessed only the xylE catabolic gene, while the naphthalene DNA-extract only the ndoB gene. Restriction enzyme analysis with HaeIII indicated similar restriction patterns for the xylE gene fragment between toluene DNA-extract and a type strain, Pseudomonas putida ATCC 23973. A substantial proportion (74%) of the colonies from the diesel-consortium possessed the xylE gene, and the ndoB gene (78%), while a minority (29%) of the toluene-consortium harbored the xylE gene. 59% of the colonies from the naphthalene-consortium had the ndoB gene, and did not have the xylE gene. These results indicate that the microbial population has been naturally enriched in organisms carrying genes for aromatic hydrocarbon degradation and that significant aromatic biodegradative potential exists at the site. Characterization of the population genotype constitutes a molecular diagnosis which permits the determination of the catabolic potential of the site to degrade the contaminant present.

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