Degradation of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in soil by Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes POB310(pPOB) and two modified Pseudomonas strains

Rolf U. Halden, Sandra M. Tepp, Barbara G. Halden, Daryl F. Dwyer

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49 Scopus citations


Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes POB310(pPOB) and Pseudomonas sp. strains B13-D5(pD30.9) and B13-ST1 (pPOB) were introduced into soil microcosms containing 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-POB) in order to evaluate and compare bacterial survival, degradation of 3-POB, and transfer of plasmids to a recipient bacterium. Strain POB310 was isolated for its ability to use 3-POB as a growth substrate; degradation is initiated by POB-dioxygenase, an enzyme encoded on pPOB. Strain B13-D5 contains pD30.9, a cloning vector harboring the genes encoding POB-dioxygenase; strain B13-ST1 contains pPOB. Degradation of 3-POB in soil by strain POB310 was incomplete, and bacterial densities decreased even under the most favorable conditions (100 ppm of 3-POB, supplementation with P and N, and soil water-holding capacity of 90%). Strains B13-D5 and B13-ST1 degraded 3-POB (10 to 100 ppm) to concentrations of <50 ppb with concomitant increases in density from 106 to 108 CFU/g (dry weight) of soil. Thus, in contrast to strain POB310, the modified strains had the following two features that are important for in situ bioremediation: survival in soil and growth concurrent with removal of an environmental contaminant. Strains B13-D5 and B13-ST1 also completely degraded 3-POB when the inoculum was only 30 CFU/g (dry weight) of soil. This suggests that in situ bioremediation may be effected, in some cases, with low densities of introduced bacteria. In pure culture, transfer of pPOB from strains POB310 and B13-ST1 to Pseudomonas sp. strain B13 occurred at frequencies of 5 x 10- 7 and 10-1 transconjugant per donor, respectively. Transfer of pPOB from strain B13-ST1 to strain B13 was observed in autoclaved soil but not in nonautoclaved soil; formation of transconjugant bacteria was more rapid in soil containing clay and organic matter than in sandy soil. Transfer of pPOB from strain POB310 to strain B13 in soil was never observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3354-3359
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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