Arthrobacter oxydans CECT386 is a Gram-positive bacterium able to use either phenylacetic acid or phenylacetaldehyde as the sole carbon and energy source for aerobic growth. Genes responsible for the catabolism of these compounds have been located at two chromosomal regions and were organized in one isolated paaN gene and two putative paa operons, one consisting of the paaD, paaF, tetR and prot genes, and one consisting of the paaG, paaH, paaI, paaJ, paaK and paaB genes. The identity of the paaF and paaN genes was supported by functional complementation experiments. A comparison with the paa catabolic genes and/or gene clusters of other bacteria that degrade these aromatic compounds is presented. The results of this study broaden the knowledge regarding the range of metabolic potential of this strain and eventually make it attractive for environmental applications.