A marine bacterium isolated from a coastal hydrocarbon-polluted sediment has been described and attributed on the basis of its phenotypic and genotypic characteristics to the genus Sphingomonas sp. This strain was capable of using an alkylated phenanthrene 2-methylphenanthrene as sole source of carbon and energy. In experiments, 2 methylphenanthrene (0.2 g/l) was added as crystals to the culture medium. After 5 days of aerobic growth at 30 °C, 70% was degraded and the complete dissipation occurred after 20 days. Furthermore, the strain could degrade various kinds of polyaromatic compounds, but failed to grow on aliphatic hydrocarbons.