Denitrifying Microbial Community Structure and bamA Gene Diversity of Phenol Degraders in Soil Contaminated from the Coking Process

  • Yanan Li
  • Jing Li
  • Di Wang
  • Guoying WangEmail author
  • Xiuping Yue
  • Xin Kong
  • Lily Young
  • Weilin Huang


Phenolic compounds are the dominant pollutants in soils contaminated by the coking industry. Ring opening by the hydroxylase gene (bamA) is the key step in the benzoyl-CoA degradation pathway under anaerobic conditions, and a broad spectrum of microorganisms possesses this functional gene, including denitrifiers. The present study analyzed the community structure of denitrifying bacteria and the diversity of the bamA gene for mixed cultures enriched from soil collected at a coking industrial site and then grown under nitrate-reducing conditions on phenol or p-hydroxybenzoate (4HBA), a key intermediate product of anaerobic phenol degradation. Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene showed different bacterial compositions between the two cultures. The dominant phyla were Proteobacteria, Armatimonadetes, and Planctomycetes in the phenol culture and Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes in the 4HBA culture. Phylogenetic analysis further demonstrated that bamA genes were associated with four clusters of bacteria, three of known bacteria and one of uncultured bacteria. The diversity of the bamA gene differed from that reported in anaerobic aromatic degradation cultures, suggesting that these enriched cultures may contain new strains unique to coking-contaminated soils. The present study further validates the potential application of this functional gene as a marker for anaerobic biodegradation processes in enrichment cultures from contaminated soil.


Azoarcus bamA gene Denitrifiers Illumina sequencing p-Hydroxybenzoate Phenol 



Jianwei Wang is acknowledged for the helpful discussion in the design of the study and for the help with culture setting up. Jin Liu and Jingyi Fu are both thanked for collecting soil samples from the coking plant.

Funding Information

This study was supported by the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (No. 2017B030314092), Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Eco-geochemistry, Ministry of Natural Resources (No. ZSDHJJ201804), Scientific and Technological Innovation Programs of Higher Education Institutions in Shanxi (No. 2016146, 201802026), the Scientific and Technological Project of Shanxi Province (No. 2015021119), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51378330, 51408396).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

12010_2019_3144_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanan Li
    • 1
  • Jing Li
    • 1
  • Di Wang
    • 1
  • Guoying Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiuping Yue
    • 1
  • Xin Kong
    • 1
  • Lily Young
    • 3
  • Weilin Huang
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Key Laboratory of Integrated Agro-environmental Pollution Control and ManagementGuangdong Institute of Eco-environmental Sciences & TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesRutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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