Biodegradation of benzene homologues in contaminated sediment of the East China Sea

Hui Li, Qian Zhang, Xiao Li Wang, Xing Yuan Ma*, Kuang Fei Lin, Yong Di Liu, Ji Dong Gu, Shu Guang Lu, Lei Shi, Qiang Lu, Ting Ting Shen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This study focused on acclimating a microbial enrichment to biodegrade benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) in a wide range of salinity. The enrichment degraded 120. mg/L toluene within 5. d in the presence of 2. M NaCl or 150. mg/L toluene within 7. d in the presence of 1-1.5. M NaCl. PCR-DGGE (polymerase chain reaction-denatured gradient gel electrophoresis) profiles demonstrated the dominant species in the enrichments distributed between five main phyla: Gammaproteobacteria, Sphingobacteriia, Prolixibacter, Flavobacteriia and Firmicutes. The Marinobacter, Prolixibacter, Balneola, Zunongwangia, Halobacillus were the dominant genus. PCR detection of genotypes involved in bacterial BETX degradation revealed that the degradation pathways contained all the known initial oxidative attack of BTEX by monooxygenase and dioxygenase. And the subsequent ring fission was catalysed by catechol 1,2-dioxygenase and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy profiles showed that the bacterial consortium adjusted the osmotic pressure by ectoine and hydroxyectoine as compatible solutes to acclimate the different salinity conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • BTEX
  • Bacterial community
  • Biodegradation
  • Compatible solutes
  • Metabolic pathway


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