Mineralization of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate by a four-member aerobic bacterial consortium

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 May;57(5):1566-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.57.5.1566-1569.1991.


A bacterial consortium capable of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS) mineralization under aerobic conditions was isolated from a chemostat inoculated with activated sludge. The consortium, designated KJB, consisted of four members, all of which were gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria that grew in pairs and short chains. Three isolates had biochemical properties characteristic of Pseudomonas spp.; the fourth showed characteristics of the Aeromonas spp. Cell suspensions were grown together in minimal medium with [C]LAS as the only carbon source. After 13 days of incubation, more than 25% of the [C]LAS was mineralized to CO(2) by the consortium. Pure bacterial cultures and combinations lacking any one member of the KJB bacterial consortium did not mineralize LAS. Three isolates carried out primary biodegradation of the surfactant, and one did not. This study shows that the four bacteria complemented each other and synergistically mineralized LAS, indicating catabolic cooperation among the four consortium members.