Skip Navigation

Project Publications: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: Beyond Parent Compound Disappearance in the Bioremediation of PAH-Contaminated Soil

Superfund Research Program

Beyond Parent Compound Disappearance in the Bioremediation of PAH-Contaminated Soil

Project Leader: Michael D. Aitken
Grant Number: P42ES005948
Funding Period: 1995-2018
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

Project-Specific Links

Connect with the Grant Recipients

Visit the grantee's eNewsletter page Visit the grantee's Twitter page Visit the grantee's Video page




  • Tian Z, Vila J, Yu M, Bodnar WM, Aitken MD. 2018. Tracing the biotransformation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated soil using stable isotope-assisted metabolomics. Environ Sci Technol Lett 5(2):103-109. doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00554


  • Chibwe L, Davie-Martin C, Aitken MD, Hoh E, Simonich SL. 2017. Identification of polar transformation products and high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in contaminated soil following bioremediation. Sci Total Environ 599-600:1099-1107. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.04.190 PMID:28511355
  • Corteselli EM, Aitken MD, Singleton D. 2017. Description of Immundisolibacter cernigliae gen. nov., sp. nov., a high-molecular-weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium within the class Gammaproteobacteria, and proposal of Immundisolibacterales ord. nov. and Immundisolibacteraceae fam. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 67:925-931. doi:10.1099/ijsem.0.001714 PMID:27926817 PMCID:PMC5817195
  • Corteselli EM, Aitken MD, Singleton D. 2017. Rugosibacter aromaticivorans gen nov, sp nov, a bacterium within the family Rhodocyclaceae, isolated from contaminated soil, capable of degrading aromatic compounds. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 67(2):311-318. doi:10.1099/ijsem.0.001622 PMID:27902243
  • Tian Z, Gold A, Nakamura J, Zhang Z, Vila J, Singleton D, Collins LB, Aitken MD. 2017. Nontarget Analysis Reveals a Bacterial Metabolite of Pyrene Implicated in the Genotoxicity of Contaminated Soil after Bioremediation. Environ Sci Technol 51(12):7091-7100. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b01172 PMID:28510420 PMCID:PMC6309544
  • Tian Z, Vila J, Wang H, Bodnar WM, Aitken MD. 2017. Diversity and Abundance of High-Molecular-Weight Azaarenes in PAH-Contaminated Environmental Samples. Environ Sci Technol 51:14047-14054. doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b03319 PMID:29160699


  • Adrion AC, Nakamura J, Shea D, Aitken MD. 2016. Screening nonionic surfactants for enhanced biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons remaining in soil after conventional biological treatment. Environ Sci Technol 50(7):3838-3845. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b05243 PMID:26919662 PMCID:PMC4973855
  • Adrion AC, Singleton D, Nakamura J, Shea D, Aitken MD. 2016. Improving polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon biodegradation in contaminated soil through low-level surfactant addition after conventional bioremediation. Environ Eng Sci 33(9):659-670. doi:10.1089/ees.2016.0128 PMID:27678476 PMCID:PMC5031096
  • Gutierrez T, Berry D, Teske A, Aitken MD. 2016. Clinical features of functional (psychogenic) eye movement disorders. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 87(12):1389-1392. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2016-313608 PMID:27683918
  • Gutierrez T, Berry D, Teske A, Aitken MD. 2016. Enrichment of fusobacteria in sea surface oil slicks from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Microorganisms 4(3):doi:10.3390/microorganisms4030024 PMID:27681918 PMCID:PMC5039584
  • Mishamandani S, Gutierrez T, Berry D, Aitken MD. 2016. Response of the bacterial community associated with a cosmopolitan marine diatom to crude oil shows a preference for the biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbons. Environ Microbiol 18(6):1817-1833. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12988 PMID:26184578 PMCID:PMC4970210
  • Singleton D, Adrion AC, Aitken MD. 2016. Surfactant-induced bacterial community changes correlated with increased polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation in contaminated soil. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 100(23):10165-10177. doi:10.1007/s00253-016-7867-z PMID:27695967
  • Singleton D, Dickey AN, Scholl EH, Wright FA, Aitken MD. 2016. Complete genome sequence of a bacterium representing a deep uncultivated lineage within the gammaproteobacteria associated with the degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Genome Announc 4(5):e01086-e01116. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01086-16 PMID:27795254 PMCID:PMC5054325


  • Ortega-Calvo JJ, Harmsen J, Parsons JR, Semple KT, Aitken MD, Ajao C, Eadsforth C, Galay-Burgos M, Naidu R, Oliver R, Peijnenburg WJ, Rombke J, Streck G, Versonnen B. 2015. From bioavailability science to regulation of organic chemicals. Environ Sci Technol 49(17):10255-10264. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b02412 PMID:26230485
  • Rodgers-Vieira EA, Zhang Z, Adrion AC, Gold A, Aitken MD. 2015. Identification of anthraquinone-degrading bacteria in soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Appl Environ Microbiol 81(11):3775-3781. doi:10.1128/AEM.00033-15 PMID:25819957 PMCID:PMC4421061


  • Gutierrez T, Aitken MD. 2014. Role of methylotrophs in the degradation of hydrocarbons during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ISME J 8(12):2543-2545. doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.88 PMID:24865772 PMCID:PMC4260708
  • Gutierrez T, Rhodes G, Mishamandani S, Berry D, Whitman WB, Nichols PD, Semple KT, Aitken MD. 2014. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation of phytoplankton-associated Arenibacter spp and description of Arenibacter algicola sp nov, an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium. Appl Environ Microbiol 80(2):618-628. doi:10.1128/AEM.03104-13 PMID:24212584 PMCID:PMC3911095
  • Hu J, Adrion AC, Nakamura J, Shea D, Aitken MD. 2014. Bioavailability of (geno)toxic contaminants in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-contaminated soil before and after biological treatment. Environ Eng Sci 31(4):176-182. doi:10.1089/ees.2013.0409 PMID:24803838 PMCID:PMC3993035
  • Jones MD, Rodgers-Vieira EA, Hu J, Aitken MD. 2014. Association of growth substrates and bacterial genera with benzo[a]pyrene mineralization in contaminated soil. Environ Eng Sci 31(12):689-697. doi:10.1089/ees.2014.0275 PMID:25469077 PMCID:PMC4245834
  • Mishamandani S, Gutierrez T, Aitken MD. 2014. DNA-based stable isotope probing coupled with cultivation methods implicates Methylophaga in hydrocarbon degradation. Front Microbiol 5:76. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00076 PMID:24578702 PMCID:PMC3936186


  • Dunlevy SR, Singleton D, Aitken MD. 2013. Biostimulation reveals functional redundancy of anthracene-degrading bacteria in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-contaminated soil. Environ Eng Sci 30(11):697-705. doi:10.1089/ees.2013.0067 PMID:24302851 PMCID:PMC3833303
  • Gutierrez T, Berry D, Yang T, Mishamandani S, McKay L, Teske A, Aitken MD. 2013. Role of bacterial exopolysaccharides (EPS) in the fate of the oil released during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. PLoS One 8(6):e67717. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067717 PMID:23826336 PMCID:PMC3694863
  • Gutierrez T, Green DH, Nichols PD, Whitman WB, Semple KT, Aitken MD. 2013. Polycyclovorans algicola gen nov, sp nov, an aromatic-hydrocarbon-degrading marine bacterium found associated with laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(1):205-214. doi:10.1128/AEM.02833-12 PMID:23087039 PMCID:PMC3536080
  • Gutierrez T, Singleton D, Berry D, Yang T, Aitken MD, Teske A. 2013. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria enriched by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill identified by cultivation and DNA-SIP. ISME J 7(11):2091-2104. doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.98 PMID:23788333 PMCID:PMC3806270
  • Singleton D, Jones MD, Richardson SD, Aitken MD. 2013. Pyrosequence analyses of bacterial communities during simulated in situ bioremediation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-contaminated soil. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97(18):8381-8391. doi:10.1007/s00253-012-4531-0 PMID:23132343 PMCID:PMC3600395





  • Singleton D, Guzman Ramirez L, Aitken MD. 2009. Characterization of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation gene cluster in a phenanthrene-degrading Acidovorax strain. Appl Environ Microbiol 75(9):2613-2620. doi:10.1128/AEM.01955-08 PMID:19270134 PMCID:PMC2681696


  • Jones MD, Singleton D, Carstensen D, Powell SN, Swanson JS, Pfaender FK, Aitken MD. 2008. Effect of incubation conditions on the enrichment of pyrene-degrading bacteria identified by stable-isotope probing in an aged, PAH-contaminated soil. Microb Ecol 56(2):341-349. doi:10.1007/s00248-007-9352-9 PMID:18165874
  • Park J, Ball LM, Richardson SD, Zhu H, Aitken MD. 2008. Oxidative mutagenicity of polar fractions from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. Environ Toxicol Chem 27(11):2207-2215. doi:10.1897/07-572.1 PMID:18517307
  • Powell SN, Singleton D, Aitken MD. 2008. Effects of enrichment with salicylate on bacterial selection and PAH mineralization in a microbial community from a bioreactor treating contaminated soil. Environ Sci Technol 42(11):4099-4105. PMID:18589972
  • Singleton D, Richardson SD, Aitken MD. 2008. Effects of enrichment with phthalate on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon biodegradation in contaminated soil. Biodegradation 19(4):577-587. PMID:17990065
  • Zhu H, Roper JC, Pfaender FK, Aitken MD. 2008. Effects of anaerobic incubation on the desorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from contaminated soils. Environ Toxicol Chem 27(4):837-844. doi:10.1897/07-166.1 PMID:18333673


  • Singleton D, Hunt M, Powell SN, Frontera-Suau R, Aitken MD. 2007. Stable-isotope probing with multiple growth substrates to determine substrate specificity of uncultivated bacteria. J Microbiol Methods 69(1):180-7. PMID:17267058


  • Christman RF, Pfaender FK. 2006. Molecular implications of hydrophobic organic partitioning theory. Acta Hydrochimica et Hydrobiologica 34(4):367-374.
  • Pravecek TL, Christman RF, Pfaender FK. 2006. Microbial bioavailability of pyrene in three laboratory-contaminated soils under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. J Contam Hydrol 86:72-86. PMID:16574273
  • Roper JC, Brown DM, Sullivan MA, Schoonhoven R, Swenberg JA, Pfaender FK. 2006. Epifluorescence microscopy and image analysis of high-level polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination in soils. Environ Toxicol Chem 25(12):3093-100. PMID:17220076
  • Singleton D, Sangaiah R, Gold A, Ball LM, Aitken MD. 2006. Identification and quantification of uncultivated Proteobacteria associated with pyrene degradation in a bioreactor treating PAH-contaminated soil. Environ Microbiol 8(10):1736-1745. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01112.x PMID:16958754



  • Zielinska-Park J, Nakamura J, Swenberg JA, Aitken MD. 2004. Aldehydic DNA lesions in calf thymus DNA and HeLa S3 cells produced by bacterial quinone metabolites of fluoranthene and pyrene. Carcinogenesis 25(9):1727-1733. PMID:15117810


  • Law AM, Aitken MD. 2003. Bacterial chemotaxis to naphthalene desorbing from a nonaqueous liquid. Appl Environ Microbiol 69(10):5968-5973. PMID:14532051


  • Frontera-Suau R, Jeong K, Park J, Long T, Law A, Walters GW, Aitken MD. 2002. PAH biodegradation and microbial population dynamics in a bench-scale bioreactor treating soil from a former manufactured gas plant. In: Proceedings of The 102nd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 19-23. Salt Lake, UT.
  • Pedit JA, Marx RB, Miller CT, Aitken MD. 2002. Quantitative analysis of experiments on bacterial chemotaxis to naphthalene. Biotechnol Bioeng 78(6):626-634. PMID:11992528


  • Kazunga C, Aitken MD, Gold A, Sangaiah R. 2001. Fluoranthene-2,3- and -1,5-diones are novel products from the bacterial transformation of fluoranthene. Environ Sci Technol 35(5):917-922. PMID:11351535
  • Walters GW, Aitken MD. 2001. Surfactant-enhanced solubilization and anaerobic biodegradation of 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-ethane (DDT) in contaminated soil. Water Environ Res 73(1):15-23. PMID:11558297


  • Kazunga C, Aitken MD. 2000. Products from the incomplete metabolism of pyrene by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol 66:1917-1922. PMID:10788360
  • Marx RB, Aitken MD. 2000. A material-balance approach for modeling bacterial chemotaxis to a consumable substrate in the capillary assay. Biotechnol Bioeng 68(3):308-315. PMID:10745199


  • Chen S, Aitken MD. 1999. Salicylate stimulates the degradation of high-molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by Pseudomonas saccharophila P15. Environ Sci Technol 33:435-439.
  • Kazunga C, Aitken MD, Gold A. 1999. Primary product of the horseradish peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation of pentachlorophenol. Environ Sci Technol 33:1408-1412.
  • Marx RB, Aitken MD. 1999. Quantification of chemotaxis to naphthalene by Pseudomonas putida G7. Appl Environ Microbiol 65:2847-2852. PMID:10388674
  • Stringfellow WT, Chen S, Aitken MD. 1999. Induction of PAH degradation in a phenanthrene-degrading pseudomonad. In: Proceedings of the International In Situ and On-site Bioreclamation Symposium. San Diego, CA.


  • Aitken MD, Stringfellow WT, Nagel RD, Kazunga C, Chen S. 1998. Characteristics of phenanthrene-degrading bacteria isolated from soils contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Can J Microbiol 44(8):743-752. PMID:9830104


  • Aitken MD. 1996. Emerging Concepts in the Biodegradation and Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. In: Proceedings of the Ninth Biennial Congress, South African Society for Microbiology. Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Chen S, Kazunga C, Aitken MD. 1996. Co-induction of Low- and High-Molecular Weight PAH Degradation in Pseudomonas saccharophila P15. In: The 96th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Washington, DC. pp.445.
  • Grimberg SJ, Miller CT, Aitken MD. 1996. Surfactant-enhanced dissolution of phenanthrene into water for laminar flow conditions. Environ Sci Technol 30(10):2967-2974.
  • Grimberg SJ, Stringfellow WT, Aitken MD. 1996. Quantifying the biodegradation of phenanthrene by Pseudomonas stutzeri P16 in the presence of a nonionic surfactant. Appl Environ Microbiol 62(7):2387-2392. PMID:8779577
  • Kazunga C, Aitken MD. 1996. Mineralization and Transformation of High Molecular Weight Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons by Phenanthrene Degrading Soil Bacteria. In: Proceedings of the Ninth Biennial Congress, South African Society for Microbiology. Pretoria, South Africa.


  • Sarr DH, Kazunga C, Charles MJ, Pavlovich JH, Aitken MD. 1995. Decomposition of tetrachloro-1,4-benzoquinone (p-chloranil) in aqueous solution. Environ Sci Technol 29(11):2735-2740. PMID:22206518
  • Stringfellow WT, Aitken MD. 1995. Competitive metabolism of naphthalene, methylnaphthalenes and fluorene by phenanthrene-degrading pseudomonads. Appl Environ Microbiol 61:357-362. PMID:7887615
  • Stringfellow WT, Chen S, Aitken MD. 1995. Induction of PAH degradation in a phenanthrene-degrading pseudomonad. In: Microbial Processes for Bioremediation. Battelle Press, Columbus, OH. pp.83-89.
  • Tedder DW, ed. 1995. Practical considerations in the application of enzyme-catalyzed oxidation. In: Emerging Technologies in Hazardous Waste Management VII. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC. pp.418-420.
to Top