Biodegradation of MTBE by Bacteria Isolated from oil Hydrocarbons- Contaminated Environments


1 University of Belgrade, Faculty of agriculture, 11080 Belgrade-Zemun, Serbia

2 Faculty of natural sciences, 38220 Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia

3 Educons University, 21208 Sremska Kamenica, Serbia

4 Institute for plant protection and environment 11080 Belgrade-Zemun, Serbia

5 Jami Institute of Technology, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Najafabad, Iran

6 Institute for multidisciplinary researches, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia


Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) belongs to the group of gasoline oxygenates and persistent
environment contaminants, and shows potential for biodegradation in aerobic and anaerobic conditions, through application of pure microbial cultures. Presented research shows that indigenous bacterial isolates 6sy and 24p, selected from oil hydrocarbons-contaminated environments, were capable of utilizing MTBE as sole carbon and energy source. Based on 16S rDNA sequence analysis, bacterial isolates 6sy and 24p were identified as Staphylococcus saprophyticus subsp. saprophyticus and Pseudomonas sp., respectively. The MTBE
biodegradation rate was affected by longevity of incubation period and initial MTBE concentration. After 3 weeks of incubation at 25°C in a dark, the removal rates of initial 25 and 125 ppm MTBE concentrations by Staphylococcus saprophyticus 6sy were found to be 97, and 63%, respectively, while efficiency of Pseudomonas sp. in degradation of indicated concentrations was 96, and 40%, respectively. Both bacterial isolates were able to grow in MTBE-containing growth medium. Highest growth rate of bacterial isolates was observed at the end of incubation period. The presented results indicated the potential of these bacterial isolates in bioremediation of MTBE-contaminated environments.