Actions of a versatile fluorene-degrading bacterial isolate on polycyclic aromatic compounds

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Oct;61(10):3711-23. doi: 10.1128/aem.61.10.3711-3723.1995.


Pseudomonas cepacia F297 grew with fluorene as a sole source of carbon and energy; its growth yield corresponded to an assimilation of about 40% of fluorene carbon. The accumulation of a ring meta-cleavage product during growth and the identification of 1-indanone in growth media and washed-cell suspensions suggest that strain F297 metabolizes fluorene by mechanisms analogous to those of naphthalene degradation. In addition to fluorene, strain F297 utilized for growth a wide variety of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), including naphthalene, 2,3-dimethylnaphthalene, phenanthrene, anthracene, and dibenzothiophene. Fluorene-induced cells of the strain also transformed 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, biphenyl, dibenzofuran, acenaphthene, and acenaphthylene. The identification of products formed from those substrates (by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) in washed-cell suspensions indicates that P. cepacia F297 carries out the following reactions: (i) aromatic ring oxidation and cleavage, apparently using the pyruvate released for growth, (ii) methyl group oxidations, (iii) methylenic oxidations, and (iv) S oxidations of aromatic sulfur heterocycles. Strain F297 grew with a creosote-PAC mixture, producing an almost complete removal of all aromatic compounds containing 2 to 3 rings in 14 days, as demonstrated by gas chromatography analysis of the remaining PACs recovered from cultures. The identification of key chemicals confirmed that not only are certain compounds depleted but also the anticipated reaction products are found.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / chemistry
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / metabolism
  • Creosote / chemistry
  • Creosote / metabolism
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism
  • Fluorenes / metabolism*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas / classification
  • Pseudomonas / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas / metabolism*


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorenes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • fluorene
  • Creosote