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Encapsulated Pseudomonas putida for phenol biodegradation: Use of a structural membrane for construction of a well-organized confined particle

Kurzbaum, Eyal, Raizner, Yasmin, Cohen, Oded, Suckeveriene, Ran Y., Kulikov, Anatoly, Hakimi, Ben, Iasur Kruh, Lilach, Armon, Robert, Farber, Yair, Menashe, Ofir
Water research 2017 v.121 pp. 37-45
Pseudomonas putida, bioaugmentation, biodegradation, bioreactors, effluents, encapsulation, genes, microfiltration, phenol, phylogeny, ribosomal RNA, scanning electron microscopy, water treatment
Phenols are toxic byproducts from a wide range of industry sectors. If not treated, they form effluents that are very hazardous to the environment. This study presents the use of a Pseudomonas putida F1 culture encapsulated within a confined environment particle as an efficient technique for phenol biodegradation. The innovative encapsulation technique method, named the “Small Bioreactor Platform” (SBP) technology, enables the use of a microfiltration membrane constructed as a physical barrier for creating a confined environment for the encapsulated culture. The phenol biodegradation rate of the encapsulated culture was compared to its suspended state in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the encapsulation technique for phenol biodegradation. A maximal phenol biodegradation rate (q) of 2.12/d was exhibited by encapsulated P. putida at an initial phenol concentration of 100 mg/L. The biodegradation rate decreased significantly at lower and higher initial phenol concentrations of 50 and up to 3000 mg/L, reaching a rate of 0.1018/d. The results also indicate similar and up to double the degradation rate between the two bacterial states (encapsulated vs. suspended). High resolution scanning electron microscopy images of the SBP capsule's membrane morphology demonstrated a highly porous microfiltration membrane. These results, together with the long-term activity of the SBP capsules and verification that the culture remains pure after 60 days using 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic affiliation tests, provide evidence for a successful application of this new encapsulation technique for bioaugmentation of selected microbial cultures in water treatment processes.