Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons: Implications for arson residue analysis

K. P. Kirkbride, Miun Yap Sook Miun Yap, S. Andrews, P. E. Pigou, G. Klass, A. C. Dinan, F. L. Peddie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of selective microbial activity on hydrocarbon accelerants have been examined both in vitro and in simulated arson residues. Two groups of Pseudomonas species that assimilate components of common petroleum based accelerants have been found: one species metabolizes only aromatic hydrocarbons, the other only aliphatics. The kinetics of hydrocarbon metabolism are discussed and gas chromatographic profiles of two common accelerants that have been subjected to microbial attack are presented. Some implications and recommendations for arson investigation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1599
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • accelerants
  • arson residues
  • forensic science
  • gasoline
  • microbial degradation
  • pseudomonads
  • pseudomonas biovarIII
  • pseudomonas putida


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