Applied and Environmental Microbiology vol:73 issue:10 pages:3159-3164
Two polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-contaminated soils of pH 2 were successfully used as inoculum to enrich cultures growing on phenanthrene and pyrene at different pHs, including pH 3. Selected pyrene-utilizing cultures obtained at pH 3, pH 5, and pH 7 were further characterized. All showed rapid [C-14] pyrene mineralization at pH 3 and pH 5 and grew on pyrene at pH values ranging from 2 to 6. Eubacterial and mycobacterial 16S rRNA gene denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and sequencing indicated that the cultures were dominated by a single bacterium closely related to Mycobacterium montefiorense, belonging to the slow-growing Mycobacterium sp. In contrast, a culture enriched on pyrene at pH 7 from a slightly alkaline soil sampled at the same site was dominated by Pseudomonas putida and a fast-growing Mycobacterium sp. The M. montefiorense-related species dominating the pyrene-utilizing cultures enriched from the acidic soils was also the dominant Mycobacterium species in the acidic soils. Our data indicate that a slow-growing Mycobacterium species is involved in PAH degradation in that culture and show that bacteria able to degrade high-molecular-weight PAHs at low pH are present in acidic PAH-contaminated soil.