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The mineralization of 14C-phenanthrene, sorbed to porous synthetic amberlite sorbents, i.e., IRC50, XAD7-HP, and XAD2, by three phenanthrene-degrading Mycobacterium soil isolates, i.e., strains VM552, VM531, and VM451 and three phenanthrene-degrading Sphingomonas soil isolates, i.e., strains LH162, EPA505 and LH227, was compared. In P-buffer and in the presence of IRC50, for all strains the maximum rate of mineralization of 14C-phenanthrene was significantly higher (1.1-1.9 ng ml(-1) h(-1)) than the initial abiotic desorption rate (0.2 ng ml(-1) h(-1)), indicating that both Mycobacterium and Sphingomonas utilize sorbed phenanthrene with a higher rate than can be explained by abiotic desorption. Because all Mycobacterium and Sphingomonas strains belonged to different species, it can be suggested that this feature is intrinsic to those genera rather than a specific feature of a particular strain. The final mineralization extent in P-buffer in the presence of IRC50 was about a factor of two higher for the Mycobacterium strains compared to the Sphingomonas strains. Moreover, a significantly higher normalized phenanthrene mineralization ratio in the presence of IRC50 to the control (without IRC50) was found for the Mycobacterium strains compared to the normalized ratio found for the Sphingomonas strains. Addition of minimal nutrients had a more beneficial effect on phenanthrene mineralization by Sphingomonas compared to Mycobacterium, resulting into similar mineralization extents and rates for both types of strains in the presence of IRC50. Our results show that Mycobacterium is better adapted to utilization of sorbed phenanthrene compared to Sphingomonas, especially in nutrient-poor conditions.


Maarten Uyttebroek, Jose-Julio Ortega-Calvo, Philip Breugelmans, Dirk Springael. Comparison of mineralization of solid-sorbed phenanthrene by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading Mycobacterium spp. and Sphingomonas spp. Applied microbiology and biotechnology. 2006 Oct;72(4):829-36

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PMID: 16496139

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