Anaerobic naphthalene degradation by a sulfate-reducing enrichment culture

Rainer U. Meckenstock, Eva Annweiler, Walter Michaelis, Hans H. Richnow, Bernhard Schink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Anaerobic naphthalene degradation by a sulfate-reducing enrichment culture was studied by substrate utilization tests and identification of metabolites by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In substrate utilization tests, the culture was able to oxidize naphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 1- and 2-naphthoic acids, phenylacetic acid, benzoic acid, cyclohexanecarboxylic acid, and cyclohex-1-ene-carboxylic acid with sulfate as the electron acceptor. Neither hydroxylated 1- or 2-naphthoic acid derivatives and 1- or 2-naphthol nor the monoaromatic compounds ortho-phthalic acid, 2-carboxy-1- phenylacetic acid, and salicylic acid were utilized by the culture within 100 days. 2-Naphthoic acid accumulated in all naphthalene-grown cultures. Reduced 2-naphthoic acid derivatives could be identified by comparison of mass spectra and coelution with commercial reference compounds such as 1,2,3,4- tetrahydro-2-naphthoic acid and chemically synthesized decahydro-2-naphthoic acid. 5,6,7,8-Tetrahydro-2-naphthoic acid and octahydro-2-naphthoic acid were tentatively identified by their mass spectra. The metabolites identified suggest a stepwise reduction of the aromatic ring system before ring cleavage. In degradation experiments with [1-13C]naphthalene or deuterated D8-naphthalene, all metabolites mentioned derived from the introduced labeled naphthalene. When a [13C]bicarbonate-buffered growth medium was used in conjunction with unlabeled naphthalene, 13C incorporation into the carboxylic group of 2-naphthoic acid was shown, indicating that activation of naphthalene by carboxylation was the initial degradation step. No ring fission products were identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2743-2747
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Anaerobic naphthalene degradation by a sulfate-reducing enrichment culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this