Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus sp. nov., an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium identified in laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton

Tony Gutierrez, Peter D Nichols, William B Whitman, Michael D Aitken

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    32 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A marine bacterium, designated strain MCTG13d, was isolated from a laboratory culture of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum CCAP1121/2 by enrichment with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as the sole carbon source. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons, the strain was most closely related to Porticoccus litoralis IMCC2115(T) (96.5%) and to members of the genera Microbulbifer (91.4 to 93.7%) and Marinimicrobium (90.4 to 92.0%). Phylogenetic trees showed that the strain clustered in a distinct phyletic line in the class Gammaproteobacteria for which P. litoralis is presently the sole cultured representative. The strain was strictly aerobic, rod shaped, Gram negative, and halophilic. Notably, it was able to utilize hydrocarbons as sole sources of carbon and energy, whereas sugars did not serve as growth substrates. The predominant isoprenoid quinone of strain MCTG13d was Q-8, and the dominant fatty acids were C(16:1?7c), C(18:1?7c), and C(16:0). DNA G+C content for the isolate was 54.9 ± 0.42 mol%. Quantitative PCR primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene of this strain showed that this organism was common in other laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton. On the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, strain MCTG13d represents a novel species of Porticoccus, for which the name Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus sp. nov. is proposed. The discovery of this highly specialized hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium living in association with marine phytoplankton suggests that phytoplankton represent a previously unrecognized biotope of novel bacterial taxa that degrade hydrocarbons in the ocean.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)628-637
    Number of pages10
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Volume78
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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