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Solubilization and degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by naturally occurring facultative anaerobic bacteria

Pathiraja, Gathanayana, Egodawatta, Prasanna, Goonetilleke, Ashantha, Te'o, Valentino S. Junior
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.651 pp. 2197-2207
Achromobacter, Lysinibacillus, Ochrobactrum, Pseudomonas, aerobic conditions, anaerobes, aroclors, bacteria, bioaugmentation, biosurfactants, chlorine, culture media, hydrolysis, hydrophobicity, sediments, soil, solubility, solubilization
A combination of solubilization and degradation is essential for the bioremediation of environments contaminated with complex polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) mixtures. However, the application of facultative anaerobic microorganisms that can both solubilize and breakdown hydrophobic PCBs in aqueous media under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, has not been reported widely. In this comprehensive study, four bacteria discovered from soil and sediments and identified as Achromobacter sp. NP03, Ochrobactrum sp. NP04, Lysinibacillus sp. NP05 and Pseudomonas sp. NP06, were investigated for their PCB degradation efficiencies. Aroclor 1260 (50 mg/L), a commercial and highly chlorinated PCB mixture was exposed to the different bacterial strains under aerobic, anaerobic and two stage anaerobic–aerobic conditions. The results confirmed that all four facultative anaerobic microorganisms were capable of degrading PCBs under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. The highest chlorine removal (9.16 ± 0.8 mg/L), PCB solubility (14.7 ± 0.93 mg/L) and growth rates as OD600 (2.63 ± 0.22) were obtained for Lysinibacillus sp. NP05 under two stage anaerobic-aerobic conditions. The presence of biosurfactants in the culture medium suggested their role in solubility of PCBs. Overall, the positive results obtained suggest that high PCB hydrolysis can be achieved using suitable facultative anaerobic microorganisms under two stage anaerobic-aerobic conditions. Such facultative microbial strains capable of solubilization as well as degradation of PCBs under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions provide an efficient and effective alternative to commonly used bioaugmentation methods utilizing specific obligate aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms, separately.