In this environmental-sample based study, rapid microbial-mediated degradation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) contaminated soils is demonstrated by a novel strain, Achromobacter spanius STE 11. Complete removal of 100 mg L-1 TNT is achieved within only 20 h under aerobic conditions by the isolate. In this bio-conversion process, TNT is transformed to 2,4-dinitrotoluene (7 mg L-1), 2,6-dinitrotoluene (3 mg L-1), 4-aminodinitrotoluene (49 mg L-1) and 2-aminodinitrotoluene (16 mg L-1) as the key metabolites. A. spanius STE 11 has the ability to denitrate TNT in aerobic conditions as suggested by the dinitrotoluene and NO3 productions during the growth period. Elemental analysis results indicate that 24.77 mg L-1 nitrogen from TNT was accumulated in the cell biomass, showing that STE 11 can use TNT as its sole nitrogen source. TNT degradation was observed between pH 4.0-8.0 and 4-43 degrees C; however, the most efficient degradation was at pH 6.0-7.0 and 30 degrees C. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.