Propylene glycol (PG) is a main component of aircraft deicing fluids and its extensive use in Northern airports is a source of soil and groundwater contamination. Bacterial consortia able to grow on PG as sole carbon and energy source were selected from soil samples taken along the runways of Oslo Airport Gardermoen site (Norway). DGGE analysis of enrichment cultures showed that PG-degrading populations were mainly composed by Pseudomonas species, although Bacteroidetes were found, as well. Nineteen bacterial strains, able to grow on PG as sole carbon and energy source, were isolated and identified as different Pseudomonas species. Maximum specific growth rate of mixed cultures in the absence of nutrient limitation was 0.014 1/h at 4°C. Substrate C:N:P molar ratios calculated on the basis of measured growth yields are in good agreement with the suggested values for biostimulation reported in literature. Therefore, the addition of nutrients is suggested as a suitable technique to sustain PG aerobic degradation at the maximum rate by autochthonous microorganisms of unsaturated soil profile.
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