Author(s): Prpich GP, Daugulis AJ
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Abstract Two phase partitioning bioreactors (TPPBs) operate by partitioning toxic substrates to or from an aqueous, cell-containing phase by means of second immiscible phase. Uptake of toxic substrates by the second phase effectively reduces their concentration within the aqueous phase to sub-inhibitory levels, and transfer of molecules between the phases to maintain equilibrium results in the continual feeding of substrate based on the metabolic demand of the microorganisms. Conventionally, a single pure species of microorganism, and a pure organic solvent, have been used in TPPBs. The present work has demonstrated the benefits of using a mixed microbial population for the degradation of phenol in a TPPB that uses solid polymer beads (comprised of ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA) as the second phase. Polymer modification via an increase in vinyl acetate concentration was also shown to increase phenol uptake. Microbial consortia were isolated from three biological sources and, based on an evaluation of their kinetic performance, a superior consortium was chosen that offered improved degradation when compared to a pure strain of Pseudomonas putida ATCC 11172. The new microbial consortium used within a TPPB was capable of degrading high concentrations of phenol (approximately 2000 mg l(-1)), with decreased lag time (10 h) and increased specific rate of phenol degradation (0.71 g phenol g(1) cell h). Investigation of the four-member consortium showed that it consisted of two Pseudomonas sp., and two Acinetobacter sp., and tests conducted upon the individual isolates, as well as paired organisms, confirmed the synergistic benefit of their existence within the consortium. The enhanced effects of the use of a microbial consortium now offer improved degradation of phenol, and open the possibility of the degradation of multiple toxic substrates via a polymer-mediated TPPB system.
This article was published in Biodegradation
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation