A pyrene-degrading consortium from deep-sea sediment of the West Pacific and its key member Cycloclasticus sp. P1

Environ Microbiol. 2008 Aug;10(8):1948-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01611.x. Epub 2008 Apr 21.


A pyrene-degrading bacterial consortium was obtained from deep-sea sediments of the Pacific Ocean. The consortium degraded many kinds of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including naphthalene, phenanthrene, pyrene, acenaphthene, fluorene, anthracene, fluoranthene, 2-methylnaphthalene and 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, but it did not grow with chrysene and benzo[alpha]pyrene. With methods of plate cultivation and polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), 72 bacteria belonging to 22 genera were detected from this consortium. Among the detected bacteria, the following genera frequently occurred: Flavobacterium, Cycloclasticus, Novosphingobium, Halomonas, Achromobacter, Roseovarius and Alcanivorax. The first two genera showed the strongest bands in denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles and appeared in all PAH treatments. By now, only one isolate designated P1 was confirmed to be a pyrene degrader. It was identified to be Cycloclasticus spirillensus (100%). Although P1 can degrade pyrene independently, other bacteria, such as Novosphingobium sp. (Band 14), Halomonas sp. (Band 16) and an unidentified bacterium (Band 35), were involved in pyrene degradation in some way; they persist in the consortium in the test of dilution to extinction if only the consortium was motivated with pyrene. However, the secondary most important member Flavobacterium sp. evaded from the community at high dilutions. As a key member of the consortium, P1 distinguished itself by both cell morphology and carbon source range among the isolates of this genus. Based on intermediate analyses of pyrene degradation, P1 was supposed to take an upper pathway different from that previously reported. Together with the results of obtained genes from P1 homology with those responsible for naphthalene degradation, its degradation to pyrene is supposed to adopt another set of genes unique to presently detected. Summarily, an efficient pyrene-degrading consortium was obtained from the Pacific Ocean sediment, in which Cycloclasticus bacterium played a key role. This is the first report to exploit the diversity of pyrene-degrading bacteria in oceanic environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem
  • Gammaproteobacteria / metabolism*
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Pyrenes / metabolism*
  • Seawater / microbiology*


  • Pyrenes
  • pyrene