Creosote oil, widely used as a wood preservative, is a complex mixture of different polycyclic aromatic compounds. The soil contamination result in the presence of a specific microcosm. The presented study focuses on the most active strains involved in bioremediation of long-term creosote-contaminated soil. In three soil samples from different boreholes, two Sphingomonas maltophilia (S. maltophilia) and one Paenibacillus ulginis (P. ulginis) strain were isolated. The conducted experiments showed the differences and similarities between the bacteria strains capable of degrading creosote from the same contaminated area. Both S. maltophilia strains exhibit higher biodegradation efficiency (over 50% after 28 days) and greater increase in glutathione S-transferase activity than P. ulginis ODW 5.9. However, S. maltophilia ODW 3.7 and P. ulginis ODW 5.9 were different from the third of the tested strains. The growth of the former two on creosote resulted in an increase in cell adhesion to Congo red and in the total membrane permeability. Nevertheless, all three strains have shown a decrease in the permeability of the inner cell membrane. That suggests the complex relationship between the cell surface modifications and bioavailability of the creosote to microorganisms. The conducted research allowed us to broaden the current knowledge about the creosote bioremediation and the properties of microorganisms involved in the process.
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