Identification and characterization of microbial contaminants isolated from stored aviation fuels by DNA sequencing and restriction fragment length analysis of a PCR-amplified region of the 16S rRNA gene

Vassilios Raikos, Sotiris S. Vamvakas, John Kapolos, Athanasia Koliadima, George Karaiskakis

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Microorganisms contaminating aircraft fuel tanks containing jet propellant-8 (JP-8) were isolated and identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Thirty-three samples from six geographically separated airport bases were collected. Two bacterial genera were identified by DNA sequencing including the following isolates: Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Populations of the above species recovered on culture media ranged from 10 to 103 CFU/ml with Staphylococcus and Agrobacterium being identified in samples taken from more than one airport base. From the bacterial communities isolated and identified in this study, only Staphylococcus was previously reported to thrive in aviation fuel tanks. Changes in aviation fuel composition and/or the ability of certain microbes to grow under certain environmental conditions may account for the isolation of previously undocumented bacterial species in aviation fuel tanks. Restriction fragment length analysis of the PCR-product proved a more reliable, simpler and quicker method to distinguish S. epidermidis and A. tumefaciens than conventional DNA sequencing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-700
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Early online date15 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011



  • fuel
  • contamination
  • microorganisms
  • aviation
  • JP-8

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