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Microbe-based decontamination of phenol-polluted environments has significant advantages over physical and chemical approaches by being relatively cheaper and ensuring complete phenol degradation. There is a need to search for commercially prospective bacterial strains that are resistant to phenol and other co-pollutants, e.g. oil hydrocarbons, in contaminated environments, and able to carry out efficient phenol biodegradation at a variable range of concentrations. This research characterizes the phenol-biodegrading ability of a new actinobacteria strain isolated from a lubricant-contaminated soil environment. Phenotypic and phylogenetic analyses showed that the novel strain UCM Ac-603 belonged to the species Rhodococcus aetherivorans, and phenol degrading ability was quantitatively characterized for the first time. R. aetherivorans UCM Ac-603 tolerated and assimilated phenol (100% of supplied concentration) and various hydrocarbons (56.2–94.4%) as sole carbon sources. Additional nutrient supplementation was not required for degradation and this organism could grow at a phenol concentration of 500 mg L −1 without inhibition. Complete phenol assimilation occurred after 4 days at an initial concentration of 1750 mg L −1 for freely-suspended cells and at 2000 mg L −1 for vermiculite-immobilized cells: 99.9% assimilation of phenol was possible from a total concentration of 3000 mg L −1 supplied at daily fractional phenol additions of 750 mg L −1 over 4 days. In terms of phenol degradation rates, R. aetherivorans UCM Ac-602 showed efficient phenol degradation over a wide range of initial concentrations with the rates (e.g. 35.7 mg L −1 h −1 at 500 mg L −1 phenol, and 18.2 mg L −1 h −1 at 1750 mg L −1 phenol) significantly exceeding (1.2–5 times) reported data for almost all other phenol-assimilating bacteria. Such efficient phenol degradation ability compared to currently known strains and other beneficial characteristics of R. aetherivorans UCM Ac-602 suggest it is a promising candidate for bioremediation of phenol-contaminated environments.
- Cell immobilization
- Phenol biodegradation
- Rhodococcus aetherivorans
COG3: The Geology, Geometallurgy and Geomicrobiology of Cobalt Resources Leading to New Product Streams (joint with Natural History Museum and Universities of Manchester, Bangor, Exeter, Loughborough and Southampton and Industrial Partner)
1/05/15 → 31/03/21
Correction to: a new Rhodococcus aetherivorans strain isolated from lubricant-contaminated soil as a prospective phenol-biodegrading agentNogina, T., Fomina, M., Dumanskaya, T., Zelena, L., Khomenko, L., Mikhalovsky, S., Podgorskyi, V. & Gadd, G. M., 1 Apr 2020, In: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 104, 8, p. 3689-3690 2 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review