Alcanivorax borkumensis gen. nov., sp. nov., a new, hydrocarbon-degrading and surfactant-producing marine bacterium

Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1998 Apr;48 Pt 2:339-48. doi: 10.1099/00207713-48-2-339.


During screening for biosurfactant-producing, n-alkane-degrading marine bacteria, six heterotrophic bacterial strains were isolated from enriched mixed cultures, obtained from sea water/sediment samples collected near the isle of Borkum (North Sea), using Mihagol-S (C14,15-n-alkanes) as principal carbon source. These Gram-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria use a limited number of organic compounds, including aliphatic hydrocarbons, volatile fatty acids, and pyruvate and its methyl ether. During cultivation on n-alkanes as sole source of carbon and energy, all strains produced both extracellular and cell-bound surface-active glucose lipids which reduced the surface tension of water from 72 to 29 mN m-1 (16). This novel class of glycolipids was found to be produced only by these strains. The 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis showed that these strains are all members of the gamma-subclass of the Proteobacteria. Their phospholipids ester-linked fatty acid composition was shown to be similar to that of members of the genus Halmonas, although they did not demonstrate a close phylogenetic relationship to any previously described species. On the basis of the information summarized above, a new genus and species, Alcanivorax borkumensis, is described to include these bacteria. Strain SK2T is the type strain of A. borkumensis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Composition
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / classification*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / physiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / ultrastructure
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Seawater / microbiology
  • Surface-Active Agents / metabolism


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Surface-Active Agents

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y12579