Anaerobic degradation of 1-methylnaphthalene by a member of the Thermoanaerobacteraceae contained in an iron-reducing enrichment culture

Sviatlana Marozava, Housna Mouttaki, Hubert Müller, Nidal Abu Laban, Alexander J. Probst, Rainer U. Meckenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


An anaerobic culture (1MN) was enriched with 1-methylnaphthalene as sole source of carbon and electrons and Fe(OH)3 as electron acceptor. 1-Naphthoic acid was produced as a metabolite during growth with 1-methylnaphthalene while 2-naphthoic acid was detected with naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene. This indicates that the degradation pathway of 1-methylnaphthalene might differ from naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene degradation in sulfate reducers. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and pyrosequencing revealed that the culture is mainly composed of two bacteria related to uncultured Gram-positive Thermoanaerobacteraceae and uncultured gram-negative Desulfobulbaceae. Stable isotope probing showed that a 13C-carbon label from 13C10-naphthalene as growth substrate was mostly incorporated by the Thermoanaerobacteraceae. The presence of putative genes involved in naphthalene degradation in the genome of this organism was confirmed via assembly-based metagenomics and supports that it is the naphthalene-degrading bacterium in the culture. Thermoanaerobacteraceae have previously been detected in oil sludge under thermophilic conditions, but have not been shown to degrade hydrocarbons so far. The second member of the community belongs to the Desulfobulbaceae and has high sequence similarity to uncultured bacteria from contaminated sites including recently proposed groundwater cable bacteria. We suggest that the gram-positive Thermoanaerobacteraceae degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons while the Desulfobacterales are mainly responsible for Fe(III) reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • 1-methylnaphthalene
  • Desulfobulbaceae
  • Iron reduction
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Synthrophic degradation
  • Thermoanaerobacteraceae


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