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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Naphthalene biodegradation in environmental microcosms: estimates of degradation rates and characterization of metabolites.

Naphthalene biodegradation was investigated in microcosms containing sediment and water collected from three ecosystems which varied in past exposure to anthropogenic and petrogenic chemicals. Mineralization half-lives for naphthalene in microcosms ranged from 2.4 weeks in sediment chronically exposed to petroleum hydrocarbons to 4.4 weeks in sediment from a pristine environment. Microbiological analysis of sediments indicated that hydrocarbon-utilizing microbial populations also varied among ecosystems and were 5 to 12 times greater in sediment after chronic petrogenic chemical exposure than in sediment from an uncontaminated ecosystem. Sediment from an ecosystem exposed to agricultural chemicals had a mineralization half-life of 3.2 weeks for naphthalene and showed about a 30-fold increase in heterotrophic bacterial populations in comparison to uncontaminated sediments, but only a 2- to 3-fold increase in hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Analysis of organic solvent-extractable residues from the microcosms by high-pressure liquid chromatography detected polar metabolites which accounted for 1 to 3% of the total radioactivity. Purification of these residues by thin-layer chromatography and further analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry indicated that cis-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2-dihydronaphthalene, 1-naphthol, salicylic acid, and catechol were metabolites of naphthalene. These results provide useful estimates for the rates of naphthalene mineralization in different natural ecosystems and on the degradative pathway for microbial metabolism of naphthalene in freshwater and estuarine environments.[1]


  1. Naphthalene biodegradation in environmental microcosms: estimates of degradation rates and characterization of metabolites. Heitkamp, M.A., Freeman, J.P., Cerniglia, C.E. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (1987) [Pubmed]
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