Author(s): Deppe U, Richnow HH, Michaelis W, Antranikian G
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Abstract The ability of a psychrotolerant microbial consortium to degrade crude oil at low temperatures was investigated. The enriched arctic microbial community was also tested for its ability to utilize various hydrocarbons, such as long-chain alkanes (n-C24 to n-C34), pristane, (methyl-)naphthalenes, and xylenes, as sole carbon and energy sources. Except for o-xylene and methylnaphthalenes, all tested compounds were metabolized under conditions that are typical for contaminated marine liquid sites, namely at pH 6-9 and at 4-27 degrees C. By applying molecular biological techniques (16S rDNA sequencing, DGGE) nine strains could be identified in the consortium. Five of these strains could be isolated in pure cultures. The involved strains were closely related to the following genera: Pseudoalteromonas (two species), Pseudomonas (two species), Shewanella (two species), Marinobacter (one species), Psychrobacter (one species), and Agreia (one species). Interestingly, the five isolated strains in different combinations were unable to degrade crude oil or its components significantly, indicating the importance of the four unculturable microorganisms in the degradation of single or of complex mixtures of hydrocarbons. The obtained mixed culture showed obvious advantages including stability of the consortium, wide range adaptability for crude oil degradation, and strong degradation ability of crude oil.
This article was published in Extremophiles
and referenced in Fermentation Technology