Butane oxidation by the hydrocarbon degradation bacteria has long been described, but little is known about the microbial interaction in this process. To investigate this interaction, the efficiency of butane oxidation was estimated in monocultures and co-cultures of six strains of butane-oxidizing bacteria (BOB) and a butanol-oxidizing strain. Results showed that the butane degradation velocity ... [Show full abstract] was at least 26 times higher in the co-culture of the seven strains (228.50 nmol h(-1)) than in the six individual monocultures (8.71 nmol h(-1)). Gas chromatographic analysis of metabolites in the cultures revealed the accumulation of butanol in the monocultures of BOB strains but not in the co-culture with the butanol-oxidizing strain. These results evidenced a novel syntrophic association between BOB and butanol-oxidizing bacteria in the butane oxidation. The BOB strains oxidized butane into butanol, but this activity was inhibited by the accumulated butanol in monocultures, whereas the removal of butanol by the butanol-oxidizing strain in co-culture could eliminate the suppression and improve the butane degradation efficiency. In the co-culture, both BOB and butanol-oxidizing bacteria could grow and the time needed for butane complete removal was shortened from more than 192 h to less than 4 h. The unsuppressed effect of the co-culture was also consistent with the results of reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) of bmoX gene because increased expression of this gene was detected during the syntrophic growth compared with that in monoculture, pointing to the upregulation of bmoX in the syntrophic interaction.