In the present study, n-hexadecane degradation in MSM was investigated by three bacteria identified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa PSA5, Rhodococcus sp. NJ2 and Ochrobactrum intermedium P2, isolated from petroleum sludge. During 10 days of incubation, n-hexadecane was degraded to 99% by P. aeruginosa PSA5, 95% by Rhodococcus sp. NJ2 and 92% by O. intermedium P2. During degradation process, the induction of catabolic enzymes alkane hydroxylase, alcohol dehydrogenase and lipase were also examined. Among these enzymes, the highest activities of alkane hydroxylase (185 μmol mg(-1) protein) and alcohol dehydrogenase (75.78 μmol mg(-1) protein) were recorded in Rhodococcus sp. NJ2 while lipase activity was highly induced in P. aeruginosa PSA5 (48.71 μmol mg(-1) protein). Besides, accumulation of n-hexadecane in inclusion bodies was found to be maximum 60.8 g l(-1) in P. aeruginosa PSA5, followed by Rhodococcus sp. NJ2 (56.1 g l(-1)) and the least (51.6 g l(-1)) was found in O. intermedium P2. Biosurfactant production by bacterial strains was indicated by the reduction in surface tension and induction of cell surface hydrophobicity and pseudosolubilization which facilitated n-hexadecane degradation.
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