Enhancement of toxic efficacy of alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons transformed by sphingobium quisquiliarum

So Young Lee, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are abundant in crude oils and refined petroleum products and are considered as major contributors to the toxicity of spilled oils. In this study, the microbial degradation of model (alkylated) PAHs (i.e., phenanthrene, 3-methylphenanthrene, 3,6-dimethylphenanthrene (36DMPhe), pyrene, and 1-methylpyrene (1MP)) by the bacterium Sphingobium quisquiliarum EPA505, a known degrader of PAHs, was studied. To evaluate the toxic potential of the metabolic products, reaction mixtures containing metabolites of 36DMPhe and 1MP were fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography, and their effects on the luminescence inhibition of Aliivibrio fischeri were evaluated. Although the luminescence inhibition of 36DMPhe and 1MP at their solubility levels was not observed, inhibition was observed in their metabolite fractions at the solubility limit of their parent molecule. This indicates that initial biotransformation increases the toxicity of alkylated PAHs because of the increased solubility and/or inherent toxicity of metabolites. Qualitative analysis of the metabolite fractions suggested that mono-oxidation of the methyl group is the main metabolic pathway of 36DMPhe and 1MP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6416
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept


  • Aquatic toxicology
  • Biodegradation
  • Biotransformation
  • Oil spills
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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