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Biodegradation. 2006 Dec;17(6):511-21. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Differential composition of bacterial communities as influenced by phenanthrene and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene in the rhizosphere of ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.).

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  • 1Faculté des Sciences, Laboratoire des Interactions Microorganismes-Minéraux-Matière Organique dans les Sols, UMR 7137 CNRS-UHP Nancy I, B.P.239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cédex, France.


Bioremediation technologies of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) are often limited by the recalcitrance to biodegradation of high molecular weight (HMW) PAH. Rhizosphere is known to increase the biodegradation of PAH but little is known about the biodegradability of these HMW compounds by rhizosphere bacteria. This study compared the effects of a 3 and a 5-ring PAH, phenanthrene (PHE) and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (dBA) respectively, on the composition of bacterial community, the bacterial density and the biodegradation activity. Compartmentalized devices were designed to harvest three consecutive sections of the rhizosphere. Rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere compartments were filled with PHE or dBA spiked or unspiked sand and inoculated with a soil bacterial inoculum. Different bacterial communities and degradation values were found 5 weeks after spiking with PHE (41-76% biodegradation) and dBA (12-51% biodegradation). In sections closer to the root surface, bacterial populations differed as a function of the distance to roots and the PAH added, whereas in further rhizosphere sections, communities were closer to those of the non-planted treatments. Biodegradation of PHE was also a function of the distance to roots, and decreased from 76 to 42% within 9 mm from the roots. However, biodegradation of dBA was significantly higher in the middle section (3-6 mm from roots) than the others. Rhizosphere degradation of PAH varies with the nature of the PAH, and C fluxes from roots could limit the degradation of dBA.

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