BTEX, benzene, bacillus, bacteria
The BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene)compounds are hydrocarbon pollutants that are considered as significant threat to the health and environment. Among BTEX, benzene is of major concern, because it is soluble, mobile, toxic, carcinogenic and one of the most stable aromatic compounds especially in ground and surface waters. Microbial degradation of benzene in aerobic environment has been successful, however, it is poorly biodegraded in anaerobic conditions. Pseudomonas species are common in aerobic bioremediation of benzene. However, in the present study, we have isolated AG3 and AG4 bacteria of Bacillus group which are able to grow in aerobic as well as anaerobic conditions. These bacteria were isolated from a location near Rice University, Houston by using BTEX as the principal carbon source. They are gram-positive, and rodshaped. The isolates utilized benzene as a carbon source in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Various carbohydrates and aromatic compounds were also tested for the growth of these bacterial isolates. Their 16S rRNA sequences indicate that they are members of the Bacillaceae; AG3 belongs to Bacillus cereus and AG4 belongs to Bacillus megaterium bacteria. These bacteria isolates can potentially be utilized in bioremediation of benzene in both aerobic and anaerobic environment.