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Journal Article

Anaerobic utilization of essential oils by denitrifying bacteria

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Harder,  Jens
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Heyen,  Udo
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Probian,  Christina
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Harder, J., Heyen, U., Probian, C., & Foß, S. (2000). Anaerobic utilization of essential oils by denitrifying bacteria. Biodegradation, 11, 55-63.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-7E96-6
Abstract
Plant volatile organic compounds are a major carbonsource in nature. We studied the degradability ofthese substances by anaerobic microorganisms inenrichment cultures with representative essential oilsas organic substrates and nitrate as electronacceptor. Lemon and pine needle oil supportedmicrobial growth in the presence of pure oil, whereasparsley seed, camphor, sage, fennel, and mint oilsupported growth only when the essential oils weredissolved in an overlying phase of2,2,4,4,6,8,8-heptamethylnonane. Thyme oil did notsupport denitrification. Analyses of the microbiallydegraded oils revealed the disappearance ofmonoterpenes, of several monoterpenoids, and ofmethoxy-propenyl-benzenes, including apiole andmyristicin. Most-probable-number determinations fordenitrifying communities in sewage sludge and forestsoil yielded 106 to 107monoterpene-utilizing cells ml-1, representing0.7 to 100% of the total cultivablenitrate-reducing microorganisms. The utilization ofessential oils together with the common occurrence ofthis metabolic trait are indications for anenvironmentally important, but currently unexploredanaerobic turnover of plant volatile organic compoundsin soil.