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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Oct;69(10):6133-42.

Characterization of multiple-substrate utilization by anthracene-degrading Mycobacterium frederiksbergense LB501T.

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  • 1Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), ENAC-ISTE-LPE, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Stable carbon isotope analysis of biomass and analyses of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA), glycolipid fatty acids (GLFA), and mycolic acids were used to characterize mixed-substrate utilization by Mycobacterium frederiksbergense LB501T under various substrate regimens. The distinct (13)C contents of anthracene and glucose as representatives of typical hydrophobic pollutants and naturally occurring organic compounds, respectively, were monitored during formation into biomass and used to quantify the relative contributions of the two carbon sources to biomass formation. Moreover, the influence of mixed-substrate utilization on PLFA, GLFA, and mycolic acid profiles and cell surface hydrophobicity was investigated. Results revealed that M. frederiksbergense LB501T degrades anthracene and forms biomass from it even in the presence of more readily available dissolved glucose. The relative ratios of straight-chain saturated PLFA to the corresponding unsaturated PLFA and the total fraction of saturated cyclopropyl-branched PLFA of M. frederiksbergense LB501T depended on the carbon source and the various rates of addition of mixed substrates, whereas no such trend was observed with GLFA. Higher proportions of anthracene in the carbon source mixture led to higher cell surface hydrophobicities and more-hydrophobic mycolic acids, which in turn appeared to be valuable indicators for substrate utilization by M. frederiksbergense LB501T. The capability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria to utilize readily available substrates besides the poorly available PAHs favors the buildup of PAH-degrading biomass. Feeding of supplementary carbon substrates may therefore promote bioremediation, provided that it sustains the pollutant-degrading population rather than other members of the microbial community.

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