Characterization of cyclohexane and hexane degradation by Rhodococcus sp. EC1

Eun Hee Lee, Kyung Suk Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Cyclohexane is a recalcitrant compound that is more difficult to degrade than even n-alkanes or monoaromatic hydrocarbons. In this study, a cyclohexane-degrading consortium was obtained from oil-contaminated soil by an enrichment culture method. Based on a 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis method, this consortium was identified as comprising Alpha-proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Gamma-proteobacteria. One of these organisms, Rhodococcus sp. EC1, was isolated and shown to have excellent cyclohexane-degrading ability. The maximum specific cyclohexane degradation rate (Vmax) for EC1 was 246 μmol g-DCW-1 (dry cell weight) h-1. The optimum conditions of cyclohexane degradation were 25-35 °C and pH 6-8. In addition to its cyclohexane degradation abilities, EC1 was also able to strongly degrade hexane, with a maximum specific hexane degradation rate of 361 μmol g-DCW-1 h-1. Experiments using 14 C-hexane revealed that EC1 mineralized 40% of hexane into CO2 and converted 53% into biomass. Moreover, EC1 could use other hydrocarbons, including methanol, ethanol, acetone, methyl tert-butyl ether, pyrene, diesel, lubricant oil, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m-xylene, p-xylene and o-xylene. These findings collectively suggest that EC1 may be a useful biological resource for removal of cyclohexane, hexane, and other recalcitrant hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1744
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation through the Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Research Center at Pohang University of Science and Technology (R11-2003-006-06001-0), and by the Korea Research Foundation (2006-512-D00037).


  • Biodegradation
  • Cyclohexane
  • Hexane
  • Hydrocarbon compounds
  • Rhodococcus


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