Aerobic degradation of a hydrocarbon mixture in natural uncontaminated potting soil by indigenous microorganisms at 20 degrees C and 6 degrees C

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 1999 Apr;51(4):532-5. doi: 10.1007/s002530051429.


A hydrocarbon mixture containing p-xylene, naphthalene, Br-naphthalene and straight aliphatic hydrocarbons (C14 to C17) was aerobically degraded without lag phase by a natural uncontaminated potting soil at 20 degrees C and 6 degrees C. Starting concentrations were approximately 46 ppm for the aromatic and 13 ppm for the aliphatic compounds. All aliphatic hydrocarbons were degraded within 5 days at 20 degrees C, to levels below detection (ppb levels) but only down to 10% of initial concentration at 6 degrees C. Naphthalene was degraded within 12 days at 20 degrees C and unaffected at 6 degrees C. At 20 degrees C p-xylene was degraded within 20 days, but no degradation occurred at 6 degrees C. Br-naphthalene was only removed down to 30% of initial concentration at 20 degrees C, with no significant effect at 6 degrees C. The biodegradation was monitored with head space solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Alkanes / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism*
  • Naphthalenes / metabolism
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Temperature
  • Xylenes / metabolism


  • Alkanes
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Naphthalenes
  • Xylenes
  • n-tetradecane
  • naphthalene