Author(s): Efroymson RA, Alexander M
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Abstract An Arthrobacter strain mineralized naphthalene and n-hexadecane dissolved in 2,2,4,4,6,8,8-heptamethylnonane. The extent of mineralization increased with greater volumes of solvent. Measurements under aseptic conditions of the partitioning of naphthalene into the aqueous phase from the solid phase or from heptamethylnonane showed that the rates were rapid and did not limit mineralization. The rate of mineralization of hexadecane was rapid, although partitioning of the compound into aqueous solution was not detected. The Arthrobacter sp. grown in media with or without heptamethylnonane did not excrete products that increased the aqueous solubility of naphthalene and hexadecane. Measurements of the number of cells in the aqueous phase showed that the Arthrobacter sp. attached to the heptamethylnonane-water interface, but attachment was evident even without a substrate in the heptamethylnonane. Tests with small inocula of the Arthrobacter sp. demonstrated that at least a portion of naphthalene or hexadecane dissolved in heptamethylnonane was degraded by cells attached to the solvent-water interface. The cells did not adhere in the presence of 0.1\% Triton X-100. The surfactant prevented mineralization of the hexadecane initially dissolved in heptamethylnonane, but it increased the rate and extent of mineralization of naphthalene initially dissolved in heptamethylnonane. The data show that organic solvents into which hydrophobic compounds partition affect the biodegradation of those compounds and that attachment of microorganisms to the organic solvent-water interface may be important in the transformation.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology