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Biodegradation of long chain alkanes in halophilic conditions by Alcanivorax sp. strain Est-02 isolated from saline soil

SadrAzodi, Seyedeh Mandana, Shavandi, Mahmoud, Amoozegar, Mohammad Ali, Mehrnia, Mohammad Reza
3 Biotech 2019 v.9 no.4 pp. 141
Alcanivorax, alkanes, bacteria, biodegradation, enzymes, genes, genetic distance, nucleotide sequences, oils, pH, petroleum, polluted soils, remediation, ribosomal RNA, saline soils, sodium chloride, temperature
In this study, through a multistep enrichment and isolation procedure, a halophilic bacterial strain was isolated from unpolluted saline soil, which was able to effectively and preferentially degrade long chain alkanes (especially tetracosane and octacosane). The strain was identified by 16S rRNA gene sequence as an Alcanivorax sp. The growth of strain Est-02 was optimized at the presence of tetracosane in different NaCl concentrations, temperatures, and pH. The consumption of different heavy alkanes was also investigated. Optimal culture conditions of the strain were determined to be as follows: 10% NaCl, temperature 25–35 °C and pH 7. Alcanivorax sp. strain Est-02 was able to use a wide range of aliphatic substrates ranging from C₁₄ to C₂₈ with clear tendency to utilize heavy chain hydrocarbons of C₂₄ and C₂₈. During growth on a mixture of alkanes (C₁₄–C₂₈), the strain consumed 60% and 65% of tetracosane and octacosane, respectively, while only about 40% of the lower chain alkanes were degraded. This unique ability of the strain Est-02 in efficient and selective biodegradation of long chain hydrocarbons could be further exploited for remediation of wax and heavy oil contaminated soils or upgrading of heavy crude oils. Comparison of the sequence of alkane hydroxylase gene (alkB) of strain Est-02 with previously reported sequences for Alcanivorax spp. and other hydrocarbon degraders, showed a remarkable phylogenetic distance between the sequence alkB of Est-02 and other alkane-degrading bacteria.