Aromatic hydrocarbon degradation patterns and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase genes in microbial cultures from deep anoxic hypersaline lakes in the eastern Mediterranean sea

Tullio Brusa, Sara Borin, Fabrizio Ferrari, Claudia Sorlini, Cesare Corselli, Daniele Daffonchio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Several mixed cultures able to grow on different aromatic hydrocarbons were obtained from different depths (between 3500 and 3660 m under the sea surface) of water/brine interfaces (1 to 5 m over the estimated brine surface) of three deep hypersaline anoxic basins (Urania, Discovery and Atalante) in the eastern Mediterranean sea. Eight strains which completely removed toluene from the medium in six to 10 days were isolated from one of the mixed cultures obtained from the Urania basin. The strains grew on toluene and yeast extract in the presence of NaCl concentrations of up to 50 and 100 g 1-1, respectively, indicating that they are halotolerant rather than halophilic. Even though DNA fingerprinting methods showed that the strains were strictly related, two groups could be found on the basis of the plasmid profile. Metabolic profiling and partial sequencing (350 bp) of the 16S rDNA showed that the strains were related to Pseudomonas mendocina. A 320 bp fragment of the catechol 2,3-dioxygenase gene from all the strains was aimplified by PCR. The sequence of the fragment showed 100% identity with xylE from pWW53 of Pseudomonas putida MT53 isolated from soil. Southern hybridisation experiments showed that catechol 2,3-dioxygenase is plasmid encoded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobiological Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Anoxic deep hypersaline basins
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Catechol 2,3-dioxygenase
  • Mediterranean sea
  • Microbial degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

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