Determination of the hydrocarbon-degrading metabolic capabilities of tropical bacterial isolates

Facundo J. Márquez-Rocha, Jorge Olmos-Soto, Ma Concepción Rosano-Hernández, Manuel Muriel-García

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38 Scopus citations


Of more than 20 bacteria isolated from a tropical soil using minimal medium supplemented with hydrocarbons, 11 grew well on diesel as sole carbon source, and another 11 grew in the presence of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Ten isolates were identified phenotypically as Pseudomonas sp. and eight as Bacillus sp. Gene sequences representing the catabolic genes (alkM, todM, ndoM, and xylM) and 16S rRNA gene sequences characteristic for Pseudomonas and Bacillus were amplified by PCR, using DNA recovered from the supernatant of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil suspensions. Based on their rapid growth characteristics in the presence of hydrocarbons and the formation of PCR products for the catabolic genes alkM and ndoM six isolates were selected for biodegradation assays. After 30 days a mixed culture of two isolates achieved close to 70% hydrocarbon removal and apparent mineralization of 16% of the hydrocarbons present in the soil. Biodegradation rates varied from 275 to 387 mg hydrocarbon kg -1day -1. Several bacterial isolates obtained in this study have catabolic capabilities for the biodegradation of alkanes and aromatic hydrocarbons including PAHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Catabolic genes
  • Hydrocarbon biodegradation
  • Metabolic capabilities
  • Pseudomonas


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