THE DEGRADATION AND UTILIZATION OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS BY INDIGENOUS SOIL BACTERIA (NAPHTHALENE, FLUORENE, ANTHRACENE, PYRENE).
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe persistance of industrially derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the subsurface may be significantly affected by the metabolism of soil bacteria. This study was conducted to determine the ability of indigenous soil bacteria to decrease the concentration of four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (naphthalene, fluorene, anthracene, and pyrene) and to utilize the compounds as a substrate for growth. Soil cores from petroleum contaminated and non-contaminated sites contained 10⁵ - 10⁷ viable microorganisms per gram dry weight of soil. Gram negative rod-shaped bacteria predominated. Decreases in the concentration of the four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were observed during incubation with bacterial isolates in aqueous suspension by the use of high performance liquid chromatography. Corresponding increases in bacterial numbers indicated utilization of the compounds as a carbon source. Soil samples from the contaminated sites contained greater numbers of bacteria utilizing anthracene and pyrene than soil samples from non-contaminated sites. Degradation rates of the four polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were related to the compound, its concentration, and the bacterium. Biodegradation of pyrene was positively correlated with the presence of oxygen. Pyrene was biodegraded by an Acinetobacter sp. under aerobic conditions but not under anaerobic or microaerophilic conditions. Studies with radiolabeled ¹⁴C-anthracene demonstrated utilization of the labeled carbon as a source of carbon by viable bacterial cells in aqueous suspension. Incorporation of ¹⁴C into cellular biomass however was not observed during incubation of ¹⁴C-anthracene in soil.
Degree ProgramMicrobiology and Immunology