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Keywords:

  • Biofilm;
  • Burkholderia species;
  • Stable isotopes;
  • Phospholipid biomarker;
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl;
  • Microbial consortium

Abstract

The active bacteria of a biofilm community grown directly on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) droplets were analyzed by 16S rRNA fingerprinting, identified by their 16S rRNA gene sequences and fatty acid profiling, and compared with isolates from the biofilm. Although, the multi-species biofilm degraded di- and trichlorinated PCB-congeners these substrates were not attacked by its individual isolated members, which suggests that a metabolic network is responsible for PCB degradation in the biofilm. The community metabolized (U- 13C]-2,2′-dichlorobiphenyl incorporating the label into certain phospholipid fatty acids matching those found in Burkholderia species. In contrast, abundant biofilm community members, like Methylobacterium species, did not incorporate the label. These results provide prima faciae evidence for Burkholderia species as the main degraders of PCBs in this type of aerobic soils.