Microbial biodegradation is an important and promising decaffeination approach because of its low cost and high security. The efficiency of this approach mainly depends on the characteristics of the strain. Twenty bacterium strains were isolated from soil of tea garden and exhibited high caffeine-tolerance, and these strains could grow on the medium supplemented with 20 g L-1 caffeine as the sole source for nitrogen and carbon. According to the physiological-biochemical characteristics and 16S rRNA gene sequence blast, two of them (CT25 and CT75) were identified as Pseudomonas putida. The results also showed that caffeine was not the preferential nutrition source for growth of strain CT25, and high level caffeine inhibited the bacterium amplification although caffeine could be metabolized by this strain. The CT25 grew well in agitated liquid medium when the incubation temperature was around 30°C. High initial concentration of strain inoculums would improve the efficiency of caffeine degradation.
Key words: Caffeine-tolerant bacterium, identification, 16S rRNA gene, caffeine biodegradation, growth condition.
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