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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Oct;75(19):6232-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02726-08. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Actions of Mycobacterium sp. strain AP1 on the saturated- and aromatic-hydrocarbon fractions of fuel oil in a marine medium.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


The pyrene-degrading Mycobacterium sp. strain AP1 grew in nutrient-supplemented artificial seawater with a heavy fuel oil as the sole carbon source, causing the complete removal of all linear (C(12) to C(40)) and branched alkanes from the aliphatic fraction, as well as an extensive degradation of the three- and four-ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) phenanthrene (95%), anthracene (80%), fluoranthene (80%), pyrene (75%), and benzo(a)anthracene (30%). Alkylated PAHs, which are more abundant in crude oils than the nonsubstituted compounds, were selectively attacked at extents that varied from more than 90% for dimethylnaphthalenes, methylphenanthrenes, methylfluorenes, and methyldibenzothiophenes to about 30% for monomethylated fluoranthenes/pyrenes and trimethylated phenanthrenes and dibenzothiophenes. Identification of key metabolites indicated the utilization of phenanthrene, pyrene, and fluoranthene by known assimilatory metabolic routes, while other components were cooxidized. Detection of mono- and dimethylated phthalic acids demonstrated ring cleavage and further oxidation of alkyl PAHs. The extensive degradation of the alkanes, the two-, three-, and four-ring PAHs, and their 1-, 2-, and 3-methyl derivatives from a complex mixture of hydrocarbons by Mycobacterium sp. strain AP1 illustrates the great substrate versatility of alkane- and PAH-degrading mycobacteria.

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