Mycobacterium pyrenivorans

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Mycobacterium pyrenivorans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Suborder: Corynebacterineae
Family: Mycobacteriaceae
Genus: Mycobacterium
Species: M. pyrenivorans
Binomial name
Mycobacterium pyrenivorans
Derz et al. 2004, DSM 44605

Mycobacterium pyrenivorans is a scotochromogenic, rapidly growing mycobacterium, first isolated from an enrichment culture obtained from soil that was highly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The soil sample was collected on the site of a former coking plant at Ubach-Palenberg, Germany. Etymology: pyrenivorans; digesting pyrene.



Colony characteristics

  • The rough colonies show a scotochromogenic yellow colour, which intensifies after exposure to light.


  • A rapidly growing mycobacterium, growth appears within 7 days at 35 C
  • Cells grow well between 24 and 37C but not at 42C. \
  • In liquid media, the cells clump together or show biofilm formation on glass.
  • Catalase-positive. Nitrate reduction test shows a weak reaction.
  • Does not hydrolyse Tween 80 within 10 days.
  • Mineralizes phenanthrene, fluoranthene and pyrene but not anthracene or benzo[a]pyrene.

Differential characteristics

  • The mycolic acid HPLC elution profile is unique and can be used for differentiation from the closely related species M. aurum, M. austroafricanum, M. vaccae and M. vanbaalenii and all other mycobacteria.


  • Isolated from an environmental source, not known to be pathogenic.

Type Strain

  • The type strain was isolated from soil of a former coking plant at Ubach-Palenberg, Germany.
  • Strain 17A3 = DSM 44605 = NRRL B-24349.


  • Derz K. et al, 2004. Mycobacterium pyrenivorans sp. nov., a novel polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbon-degrading species. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2004, 54, 2313-2317.

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