A PCR-based assay for the detection of anaerobic naphthalene degradation

Brandon E. L. Morris, Alexander Gissibl, Steffen Kümmel, Hans-Hermann Richnow, Matthias Boll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are widespread environmental pollutants of considerable risk to human health. The aerobic degradation of PAH via oxygenase reactions has been studied for several decades. In contrast, it was not until very recent that the first key enzyme involved in anaerobic PAH degradation, the dearomatizing 2-naphthoyl-CoA reductase, was isolated and characterized. In this work, a PCR-based functional assay was developed to detect microorganisms that have the ability to anaerobically degrade naphthalene, as a model for larger PAH. The degenerative oligonucleotide probes introduced here amplified a highly conserved region of the gene encoding 2-naphthoyl-CoA reductase (Ncr) in numerous sulfate-reducing pure cultures and environmental enrichments. The assay provides the first molecular tool for monitoring the anaerobic degradation of a model PAH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-59
Number of pages5
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • PCR-based assay
  • anaerobic aromatic degradation
  • 2-naphthoyl-CoA reductase


Dive into the research topics of 'A PCR-based assay for the detection of anaerobic naphthalene degradation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this