Influence of hydrocarbons on the virulence and antibiotic sensitivity associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Seema Asthana, Patricia Rusin, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa has the potential for use in bioremediation. However, this organism is an opportunistic pathogen and is highly resistant to disinfectants and antibiotics. P. aeruginosa has been known to cause a wide variety of infections in humans, especially in immunocompromised persons. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of hydrocarbons on the virulence of P. aeruginosa as it degrades these hydrocarbons. The expression of virulence factors associated with 12 different hydrocarbon-degrading strains of P. aeruginosa was evaluated. Virulence factors including hemolytic activity, antibiotic sensitivity, cell adherence, and exopolysaccharide capsule formation were tested in the presence of 0.1% glucose and the appropriate hydrocarbon. No differences were found in hemolytic activity or antibiotic resistance in the presence of glucose or hydrocarbon. Growth on glucose significantly enhanced adherence, while growth on a hydrocarbon enhanced capsule formation. The results of this study indicate that, overall, growth in the presence of hydrocarbons such as hexadecane does not enhance the virulence characteristics of P. aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-288
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Biodegradation
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Seudomonas aeruginosa
  • Virulence factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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