• M M Yakimov
    Department of Microbiology, GBF National Research Center for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany. Michail_Yakimov@sifi.it
  • L Giuliano
  • V Bruni
  • S Scarfì
  • P N Golyshin

During screening for biosurfactant-producing, n-alkane-degrading marine bacteria, two heterotrophic bacterial strains were isolated from enriched mixed cultures, obtained from Terra Nova Bay (Ross sea, Antarctica) by using aliphatic and artomatic hydrocarbons as the principal carbon source. These gram-positive, aerobic, cocci-shaped bacteria use a various number of organic compounds, including aliphatic hydrocarbons, volatile fatty acids, and biphenyl. During cultivation on n-alkanes as sole source of carbon and energy, all strains produced both an extracellular and cell-bound surface-active mixture of trehalose lipids which reduced the surface tension of water from 72 mN/m to 32mN/m. This class of glycolipids was found to be produced only by marine rhodococci. The 16S-rRNA gene sequence analysis showed that both strains are members of the G + C rich gram-positive group of the phylum Proteobacteria and was found to be almost identical to that of Rhodococcus fascians DSM 20669. The potential of these strains for in situ bioremediation of contaminated cold marine environment is discussed in the present study.


  • Alkanes/metabolism, Antarctic Regions, Biodegradation, Environmental, Biphenyl Compounds/metabolism, Burkholderia cepacia/drug effects, DNA, Ribosomal/genetics, Glycolipids/biosynthesis, Hydrocarbons/metabolism, Marine Biology, Phylogeny, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics, Rhodococcus/classification, Spectrometry, Mass, Fast Atom Bombardment, Surface-Active Agents/metabolism, Trehalose, Water Microbiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-56
Number of pages8
JournalThe new microbiologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999
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