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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 931793, 11 pages
Research Article

Methylobacterium populi VP2: Plant Growth-Promoting Bacterium Isolated from a Highly Polluted Environment for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Biodegradation

1DIA-Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy
2Dipartimento di Biologia, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Complesso Universitario Monte S. Angelo, Via Cintia 4, 80126 Napoli, Italy

Received 25 March 2014; Revised 28 May 2014; Accepted 10 July 2014; Published 3 August 2014

Academic Editor: Wen-Jun Li

Copyright © 2014 Valeria Ventorino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The use of microorganisms to accelerate the natural detoxification processes of toxic substances in the soil represents an alternative ecofriendly and low-cost method of environmental remediation compared to harmful incineration and chemical treatments. Fourteen strains able to grow on minimal selective medium with a complex mixture of different classes of xenobiotic compounds as the sole carbon source were isolated from the soil of the ex-industrial site ACNA (Aziende Chimiche Nazionali Associate) in Cengio (Savona, Italy). The best putative degrading isolate, Methylobacterium populi VP2, was identified using a polyphasic approach on the basis of its phenotypic, biochemical, and molecular characterisation. Moreover, this strain also showed multiple plant growth promotion activities: it was able to produce indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and siderophores, solubilise phosphate, and produce a biofilm in the presence of phenanthrene and alleviate phenanthrene stress in tomato seeds. This is the first report on the simultaneous occurrence of the PAH-degrading ability by Methylobacterium populi and its multiple plant growth-promoting activities. Therefore, the selected indigenous strain, which is naturally present in highly contaminated soils, is good candidate for plant growth promotion and is capable of biodegrading xenobiotic organic compounds to remediate contaminated soil alone and/or soil associated with plants.