Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

  title={Biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons},
  author={Carl Cerniglia},
  • C. Cerniglia
  • Published 1 June 1992
  • Chemistry, Biology
  • Biodegradation
The intent of this review is to provide an outline of the microbial degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A catabolically diverse microbial community, consisting of bacteria, fungi and algae, metabolizes aromatic compounds. Molecular oxygen is essential for the initial hydroxylation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by microorganisms. In contrast to bacteria, filamentous fungi use hydroxylation as a prelude to detoxification rather than to catabolism and assimilation. The… 


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the class of hydrocarbons containing two or more fused aromatic hydrocarbons. They can persist in the environment due to their low water solubility.

Microbial biodegradation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

The goal of this review is to provide an outline of the current knowledge of microbial PAH catabolism to facilitate the development of new methods to enhance the bioremediation of PAH-contaminated sites.

Bacterial Degradation of Aromatic Compounds

This review focuses on bacterial degradation pathways of selected aromatic compounds and describes proteomics and metabolomics as powerful tools for elucidation of biodegradation mechanisms.

Biodegradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): A Sustainable Approach

Cultures of fungi that degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may be useful for bioremediation of contaminated soils, sediments, and waters.

Bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: current knowledge and future directions

The variety of fungi and bacteria that are capable of these transformations are discussed, the major aerobic and anaerobic breakdown pathways are described, and some of the bioremediation technologies that are currently available are highlighted.

Mathematical evaluation of intermediates accumulation during microbial phenanthrene degradation

The biodegradation pathway of phenanthrene, a 3-ring PAH, consisting of 14 enzymatic steps was analyzed to determine the release pattern of the intermediates by mathematical calculation of permeability using a membrane transport model and intermediates with high permeability such as 1-hydroxy-2-naphthoic acid were consistent with the compounds frequently observed in laboratory or field in the literature.


The origin and properties ofPAHs are introduced and the physical, chemical and biological methods for the degradation of PAHs were reviewed, among them the biodegradation of PAhs has been especially analyzed.

Kinetics of biodegradation of mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Results show that even when kinetics of PAH degradation by mixed cultures appear to follow competitive-inhibition kinetics, the underlying mechanisms may be more complex.

Mycobacterium as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) Degrader

Based on the above study, Mycobacterium has proved to be a better candidate in bioreme diation of PAH-contaminated sites.

Bacterial Degradation of High Molecular Weight Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Substrate interaction is an important phenomenon in the removal of PAHs in the natural environment and addition of surfactants have been attempted, however, the effect is not always beneficial.



The biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons by bacteria

The biodegradation of benzene, certain arenes, biphenyl and selected fused aromatic hydrocarbons, by single bacterial isolates, are dealt with in detail.

Studies on the Fungal Oxidation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

C Cunninghamella elegans isolated from a soil sample collected along the North Carolina coast oxidized nephthalene, biphenyl, dibenzofuran, benzofajpyrene and benzo[a]anthracene to metabolites which are quite similar to those reported to be found in mammalian enzyme systems.

Biotransformation of polycyclic aromatic compounds by fungi.

The sulphur-containing heterocyclic aromatic compounds dibenzothiophene, thioxanthone and thiochromanone were oxidized at sulphur by C. elegans, and the PAHs were not metabolized by any of the fungi studied.

Microbial metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Aromatic hydrocarbon degradation: a molecular approach.

It is found that due to the ubiquitous nature and increasing concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons microorganisms can be found that have the ability to degrade these compounds.

Degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic heterocycles by a Pseudomonas species.

Enrichment cultures were established with the aromatic fraction of a crude oil and screened for aromatic-degrading pseudomonads, using a sprayed plate technique. One isolate identified as Pseudomonas

Fate of polynuclear aromatic compounds (PNAs) in soil-plant systems

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) consist of three or more fused benzene rings in linear, angular, or cluster arrangements. Substitution of carbon in the benzene ring with nitrogen, sulfur,

Mineralization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by a bacterium isolated from sediment below an oil field

Microbiological analyses of sediments chronically exposed to petrogenic hydrocarbons resulted in the isolation of a gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium which mineralized naphthalene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, and 1-nitropyrene to carbon dioxide when grown for 2 weeks in pure culture with organic nutrients.

Microbial models of mammalian metabolism. Aromatic hydroxylation.

Detoxification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by fungi

  • J. Sutherland
  • Biology, Chemistry
    Journal of Industrial Microbiology
  • 2005
Although dihydrodiol epoxides and other mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds have been detected as minor fungal metabolites of a few PAHs, most transformations performed by fungi reduce the mutagenicity and thus detoxify thePAHs.