Author(s): Tiehm A
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Abstract The biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) often is limited by low water solubility and dissolution rate. Nonionic surfactants and sodium dodecyl sulfate increased the concentration of PAH in the water phase because of solubilization. The degradation of PAH was inhibited by sodium dodecyl sulfate because this surfactant was preferred as a growth substrate. Growth of mixed cultures with phenanthrene and fluoranthene solubilized by a nonionic surfactant prior to inoculation was exponential, indicating a high bioavailability of the solubilized hydrocarbons. Nonionic surfactants of the alkylethoxylate type and the alkylphenolethoxylate type with an average ethoxylate chain length of 9 to 12 monomers were toxic to a PAH-degrading Mycobacterium sp. and to several PAH-degrading mixed cultures. Toxicity of the surfactants decreased with increasing hydrophilicity, i.e., with increasing ethoxylate chain length. Nontoxic surfactants enhanced the degradation of fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, and pyrene.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology