An extensive taxonomic analysis of the bacterial strain Burkholderia sp. DBT1, previously isolated from an oil refinery wastewater drainage, is discussed here. This strain is capable of transforming dibenzothiophene through the ‘destructive’ oxidative pathway referred to as the Kodama pathway. Burkholderia DBT1 has also been proved to use fluorene, naphthalene and phenanthrene as carbon and energy sources, although growth on the first two compounds requires a preinduction step. This evidence suggests that the strain DBT1 exerts a versatile metabolism towards polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons other than condensed thiophenes. Phylogenetic characterization using a polyphasic approach was carried out to clarify the actual taxonomic position of this strain, potentially exploitable in bioremediation. In particular, investigations were focused on the possible exclusion of Burkholderia sp. DBT1 from the Burkholderia cepacia complex. Analysis of the sequences of 16S, recA and gyrB genes along with the DNA–DNA hybridization procedure indicated that the strain DBT1 belongs to the species Burkholderia fungorum, suggesting the proposal of the taxonomic denomination B. fungorum DBT1.