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A most-probable-number (MPN) method is described for enumerating hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms. Also, methods are described for measuring natural and nonnutrient-limited hydrocarbon biodegradation potentials. Both the enumeration and the activity measurements use carbon-14 hydrocarbon-spiked oil. The advantages and limitations of these methods for enumerating hydrocarbon utilizers and measuring hydrocarbon biodegradation are considered. Also, examples of the types of data generated by these methods and their interpretation are discussed.
aquatic bacteria, microorganisms, hydrocarbon, enumeration, oil, activity, most-probable-number (MPN) technique
Assistant professor of biology, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.