Author(s): Ridgway HF, Safarik J, Phipps D, Carl P, Clark D
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Abstract Approximately 300 gasoline-degrading bacteria were isolated from well water and core material from a shallow coastal aquifer contaminated with unleaded gasoline. Identification of 244 isolates revealed four genera: Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, Nocardia, and Micrococcus, with pseudomonads making up 86.9\% of bacteria identified. A total of 297 isolates was sorted into 111 catabolic groups on the basis of aerobic growth responses on 15 gasoline hydrocarbons. Each test hydrocarbon was degraded by at least one isolate. Toluene, p-xylene, ethylbenzene, and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene were most frequently utilized as growth substrates, whereas cyclic and branched alkanes were least utilized. Most isolates were able to grow on 2 or 3 different hydrocarbons, and nearly 75\% utilized toluene as a sole source of carbon and energy. Isolates were remarkably specific for hydrocarbon usage, often catabolizing only one of several closely related compounds. A subset of 220 isolates was sorted into 51 groups by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was partitioned into 16 protein-banding groups (i.e., subspecies) whose catabolic activities were largely restricted to substituted aromatics. Different members of subspecies groups defined by protein-banding pattern analysis often exhibited different growth responses on the same hydrocarbon, implying marked strain diversity. The catabolic activities of well-derived, gasoline-degrading bacteria associated with this contaminated aquifer are consonant with in situ adaptation at the site.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology