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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 56 No. 5, p. 1477-1481
    Received: Aug 12, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Enhanced Acetylene Biodegradation in Soil with History of Exposure to the Gas

  1. Richard E. Terry  and
  2. Ronald W. Leavitt
  1. Dep. of Agronomy and Horticulture
    Dep. of Microbiology, 275 WIDB, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT 84602



Enhanced biodegradation of acetylene (C2H2) in soils could affect experimental assays of N transformations when the gas is employed to inhibit specific enzymes. This study was conducted to examine enhanced biodegradation of C2H2 in field soils with histories of exposure to the gas and to isolate and identify the C2H2-metabolizing microbes. Soil samples from field sites previously exposed to C2H2 and from adjacent, unexposed areas were incubated in the laboratory under 1.0 kPa C2H2 in air and C2H2 metabolism was determined. Soil microbes adapted to C2H2 degradation within 7 d in samples from areas exposed to the gas 4 to 8 yr previously. Enhanced degradation of C2H2 in samples collected outside but adjacent to areas of previous exposure indicates that C2H2 metabolizers may have spread. Most-probable-numbers of C2H2 decomposers in excess of 50 000 g−1 were found in soils near the sites of the 1981 and 1985 exposures to C2H2. Five strains of gram-positive, obligate aerobic bacteria capable of utilizing C2H2 as their sole C source were isolated and identified as Rhodococcus spp.

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