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n-Alkane uptake and utilisation by Streptomyces strains

Barabás, György, Vargha, György, Szabó, István M., Penyige, András, Damjanovich, Sándor, Szöllösi, János, Matkó, János, Hirano, Tadashi, Mátyus, Anita, Szabó, István
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 2001 v.79 no.3-4 pp. 269-276
G-proteins, Streptomyces, bioremediation, carbon, carbon dioxide, cell membranes, cytoplasm, electron microscopy, energy, fatty acid composition, fluorescent dyes, hexadecane, hydrophobicity, kerosene, mineral oil, oil fields, petroleum, polluted soils, soil bacteria, soil sampling, Kuwait
Streptomyces strains isolated from the Kuwait Burgan oil field were defined as S. griseoflavus, S. parvus, and S. plicatus utilised n-hexadecane, n-octadecane (purified fractions of mineral oil), kerosene, and crude oil as sole carbon and energy sources. The strains were incubated with n-alkanes and increase of the fatty acid content with chain length equivalent to the employed n-alkanes was observed. Signal transducing GTP-binding proteins (GBPs) play an important role in n-alkane uptake in streptomycetes. Specific activators of GBPs increased the uptake of hydrocarbons. Using the hydrophobic fluorescent dye diphenylhexatrien (DPH) as a probe, it was found that the microviscosity of the hydrophobic inner region of the cellular membrane is significantly lower in hydrocarbon utilisers than in non-utilisers. This difference probably reflects differences in the fatty acid composition of the strains. When cultures were grown in n-alkane containing media, electron microscopy revealed that the hydrocarbon utilisers showed less-electron dense areas as inclusions in the cytoplasm. Soil samples inoculated with Streptomyces strains eliminated hydrocarbons much faster than those not containing these strains, serving as control. When inorganic medium was supplied with n-hexadecane-1-¹⁴C as sole carbon and energy source, radioactive CO₂ was detected. Since streptomycetes have not been used until now for oil elimination, though they are known as abundant soil bacteria tolerating extreme conditions, their possible use for bioremediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils is discussed.