Ten bacterial strains were isolated from alkylpyridine polluted sediments 7.6 m below the surface. These strains were able to degrade 11 different alkylpyridine isomers. Degradation rates depended on number and position of the alkyl group. Isomers with an alkyl group at position 3 were more resistant to microbial attack. Of the 10 strains, 6 isolates were selected for detailed study. These isolates mineralized the isomers to CO2, NH4+, and biomass. All strains were gram-negative rods with a strict aerobic metabolism. Characterization of physiological and biochemical properties revealed similarity between strains. Each strain however, had a limited substrate range which enabled it to degrade no more than 2 to 3 compounds of the 14 alkylpyridine isomers tested. Examination of the genetic variability among cultures with the randomly amplified polymorphic DNA technique revealed high level of genomic DNA polymorphism. The highest similarity between 2 strains (0.653) was observed between 2-picoline and 3-picoline degrading cultures. The molecular basis of the differences in substrate specificity is under investigation.
- Subsurface bacteria