Biodegradation of methyl tert-butyl ether using bacterial strains

Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2008;53(5):411-6. doi: 10.1007/s12223-008-0062-6. Epub 2008 Dec 16.


Prospective methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) degrading bacterial strains and/or consortia were identified. The potential for aerobic degradation of MTBE was examined using bacterial isolates from contaminated soils and groundwater. Using the 16S rDNA protocol, two isolates capable of degrading MTBE (Rhodococcus pyridinivorans 4A and Achromobacter xylosoxidans 6A) were identified. The most efficient consortium of microorganisms was acquired from contaminated groundwater. The growth of both strains and the consortium on MTBE was supported by various organic substrates, and monitored using Bioscreen. The biochemical oxygen demand of the cultures was measured using OxiTop, and their MTBE concentrations were estimated by gas chromatography. After 3 weeks of aerobic cultivation using n-alkanes as cosubstrate, the concentration of MTBE in R. pyridinivorans 4A was reduced to 62.4 % of its initial amount (50 ppm).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achromobacter / classification
  • Achromobacter / growth & development
  • Achromobacter / isolation & purification
  • Achromobacter / metabolism*
  • Aerobiosis
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Fresh Water / microbiology*
  • Methyl Ethers / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / pharmacology
  • Rhodococcus / classification
  • Rhodococcus / growth & development
  • Rhodococcus / isolation & purification
  • Rhodococcus / metabolism*
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical


  • Methyl Ethers
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • methyl tert-butyl ether
  • Oxygen