The ability to degrade aromatic hydrocarbons, including (i) benzene, toluene, o-xylene, naphthalene, anthracene, phenanthrene, benzo[a]anthracene, and benzo[a]pyrene; (ii) polar substituted derivatives of benzene, including phenol and aniline; (iii) N-heterocyclic compounds, including pyridine; 2-, 3-, and 4-picolines; 2- and 6-lutidine; 2- and 4-hydroxypyridines; (iv) derivatives of aromatic acids, including coumarin, of 133 Rhodococcus strains from the Regional Specialized Collection of Alkanotrophic Microorganisms was demonstrated. The minimal inhibitory concentrations of these aromatic compounds for Rhodococcus varied in a wide range from 0.2 up to 50.0 mM. o-Xylene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were the less-toxic and preferred aromatic growth substrates. Rhodococcus bacteria introduced into the PAH-contaminated model soil resulted in a 43% removal of PAHs at an initial concentration 1 g/kg within 213 days, which was three times higher than that in the control soil. As a result of the analysis of biodegradation genes, metabolic pathways for aromatic hydrocarbons, phenol, and nitrogen-containing aromatic compounds in Rhodococcus, proceeding through the formation of catechol as a key metabolite with its following ortho-cleavage or via the hydrogenation of aromatic rings, were verified.
- Rhodococcus bacteria
- mono- and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- functional genes