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Solvent-Augmented Mineralization of Pyrene by a Mycobacterium sp

, : Solvent-Augmented Mineralization of Pyrene by a Mycobacterium sp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 62(7): 2311-2316

The biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollutants is constrained, in part, by their solid physical state and very low water solubility. Searching for ways to overcome these limitations, we isolated from soil a bacterium capable of growing on pyrene as a sole source of carbon and energy. Acid-fast stain, morphology, and fatty acid profile identified it as a Mycobacterium sp. In a mineral salts solution, the isolate mineralized 50% of a 250-(mu)g/ml concentration of [(sup14)C]pyrene in 2 to 3 days. Detergent below the critical micelle concentration increased the pyrene mineralization rate to 154%, but above the critical micelle concentration, the detergent severely inhibited pyrene mineralization. The water-miscible solvent polyethylene glycol was inhibitory. The hydrophobic solvents heptamethylnonane, decalin, phenyldecane, and diphenylmethane were also inhibitory at several concentrations tested, but the addition of paraffin oil, squalene, squalane, tridecylcyclohexane, and cis-9-tricosene at 0.8% (vol/vol) doubled pyrene mineralization rates by the Mycobacterium sp. without being utilized themselves. The Mycobacterium sp. was found to have high cell surface hydrophobicity and adhered to the emulsified solvent droplets that also contained the dissolved pyrene, facilitating its mass transfer to the degrading bacteria. Cells physically adhering to solvent droplets metabolized pyrene 8.5 times as fast as cells suspended in the aqueous medium. An enhanced mass transfer of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds to microorganisms by suitable hydrophobic solvents might allow the development of solvent-augmented biodegradation techniques for use in aqueous or slurry-type bioreactors.


PMID: 16535350

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