Bacterial strains were isolated from the sediments of the Baltic Sea using ferulic acid, guaiacol or a lignin-rich softwood waste stream as substrate. In total nine isolates were obtained, five on ferulic acid, two on guaiacol and two on a lignin-rich softwood stream as a carbon source. Three of the isolates were found to be Pseudomonas sp. based on 16S rRNA sequencing. Among them, isolate 9.1, which showed the fastest growth in defined M9 medium, was tentatively identified as a Pseudomonas deceptionensis strain based on the gyrB sequencing. The growth of isolate 9.1 was further examined on six selected lignin model compounds (ferulate, p-coumarate, benzoate, syringate, vanillin and guaiacol) from different upper funneling aromatic pathways and was found able to grow on four out of these six compounds. No growth was detected on syringate and guaiacol. The highest specific growth and uptake rates were observed for benzoate (0.3 h-1 and 4.2 mmol g CDW-1 h-1) whereas the lowest were for the compounds from the coniferyl branch. Interestingly, several pathway intermediates were excreted during batch growth. Vanillyl alcohol was found to be excreted during growth on vanillin. Several other intermediates like cis,cis-muconate, catechol, vanillate and 4-hydroxybenzoate from the known bacterial catabolic pathways were excreted during growth on the model compounds.
Keywords: Bacterial aromatic catabolism; Monolignols; Pseudomonas; Sediment isolates; Vanillyl alcohol.