Pyrene and Phenanthrene Influence on Soil Microbial Populations Academic Article uri icon


  • Two studies were conducted to evaluate microbial populations in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarboncontaminated soil. Captina silt loam was freshly exposed to (1) 0 or 2000 mg pyrene/kg and sampled after 10- and 61-wk incubation and (2) 0 or 505 mg pyrene + 445 mg phenanthrene/kg and sampled after a 21-wk incubation. Microbial numbers were determined by plate-count techniques. Isolated bacteria, selected degraders, and wholesoil extracts were analyzed by fatty acid methyl ester analysis (FAME). In the pyrene experiment, pyrene did not affect total bacterial or fungal numbers, but pyrene degraders increased from undetectable levels to 7.09 log 10 degraders/g in the contaminated soil. The FAME analysis of bacterial isolates detected no pyrene effect, but wholesoil FAME indicated an increase in the contaminated soil of a fatty acid characteristic of protozoa and a major fatty acid detected in isolated degraders. In the pyrene + phenanthrene experiment, the contaminants had no impact on bacterial, fungal, or actinomycete numbers but increased degrader numbers. No effect of pyrene + phenanthrene was detected by isolate FAME, but whole-soil FAME indicated an effect similar to that in the pyrene experiment. The results indicate that pyrene, although not impacting microbial numbers, may have altered the soil microbial composition and that Captina silt loam can develop an effective degrader population under tested conditions. 2003 by CRC Press.

published proceedings

  • Bioremediation Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Gentry, T. J., Wolf, D. C., Reynolds, C. M., & Fuhrmann, J. J.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Gentry, Terry J||Wolf, Duane C||Reynolds, C Michael||Fuhrmann, Jeffry J

publication date

  • January 2003