Isolation of marine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading Cycloclasticus strains from the Gulf of Mexico and comparison of their PAH degradation ability with that of Puget Sound Cycloclasticus strains

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Phenanthrene- and naphthalene-degrading bacteria were isolated from four offshore and nearshore locations in the Gulf of Mexico by using a modified most-probable-number technique. The concentrations of these bacteria ranged from 102 to 106cells per ml of wet surficial sediment in mildly contaminated and noncontaminated sediments. A total of 23 strains of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading bacteria were obtained. Based on partial 16S ribosomal DNA sequences and phenotypic characteristics, these 23 strains are members of the genus Cycloclasticus. Three representatives were chosen for a complete phylogenetic analysis, which confirmed the close relationship of these isolates to type strain Cycloclasticus pugetii PS-1, which was isolated from Puget Sound. PAH substrate utilization tests which included high-molecular-weight PAHs revealed that these isolates had similar, broad substrate ranges which included naphthalene, substituted naphthalenes, phenanthrene, biphenyl, anthracene, acenaphthene, and fluorene. Degradation of pyrene and fluoranthene occurred only when the strains were incubated with phenanthrene. Two distinct partial PAH dioxygenase iron sulfur protein (ISP) gene sequences were PCR amplified from Puget Sound and Gulf of Mexico Cycloclasticus strains. Phylogenetic analyses of these sequences revealed that one ISP type is related to the bph type of ISP sequences, while the other ISP type is related to the nah type of ISP sequences. The predicted ISP amino acid sequences for the Gulf of Mexico and Puget Sound strains are identical, which supports the hypothesis that these geographically separated isolates are closely related phylogentically.Cycloclasticus species appear to be numerically important and widespread PAH-degrading bacteria in both Puget Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.


Bacteriology | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology | Genetics and Genomics | Life Sciences | Marine Biology | Microbiology