Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) is a pollutant that causes deleterious effects on human and
environmental health. Certain microbial cultures have shown the ability to degrade MTBE, suggesting that a
novel bacterial species capable of degrading MTBE could be recovered. The goal of this study was to isolate,
identify and characterize the members of a bacterial consortium capable of degrading MTBE.
The IPN-120526 bacterial consortium was obtained through batch enrichment using MTBE as the sole
carbon and energy source. The cultivable fraction of the consortium was identified; of the isolates, only
IPN-TD and Sphingopyxis
sp. IPN-TE were capable of degrading MTBE. To the
best of our knowledge, this report is the first demonstrating that S. maltophilia
sp. are capable
of degrading MTBE. The degradation kinetics of MTBE demonstrated that S. maltophilia
IPN-TD had a
significantly higher overall MTBE degradation efficiency and rate (48.39 ± 3.18% and 1.56 ± 0.12 mg L-1
respectively) than the IPN-120526 consortium (38.59 ± 2.17% and 1.25 ± 0.087 mg L-1
The kinetics of MTBE removal by both cultures fit first-order and pseudo-first-order reaction models.
These findings suggest that S.maltophilia
IPN-TD in axenic culture has considerable potential for the
detoxification of MTBE-contaminated water.