A Burkholderia cepacia strain (VUN 10,001) isolated from manufacturing gas plant soil was selected for its ability to grow on and degrade pyrene as a sole source of carbon and energy. VUN 10,001 was able to grow on fluorene, phenanthrene benz[a]anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene, but not benzo[a]pyrene and dibenz[a,h]anthracene when tested using inocula with low cell numbers. However, a small decrease in the concentrations of these latter compounds was observed. When media were inoculated at a high cell density, VUN 10,001 degraded the high molecular weight PAHs benzo[a]pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene and coronene when these were present as individual substrates or as components of a complex mixture. Degradation of the high molecular weight PAHs was found to increase in the presence of the lower molecular weight compounds.

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