, Volume 76, Issue 6, pp 1423-1430
Date: 25 Jul 2007

Adaptation of Rhodococcus erythropolis cells to high concentrations of toluene

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Cells of Rhodococcus erythropolis DCL14 were adapted to increasing toluene concentrations in a mechanically stirred reactor. When the initial non-adapted cells were placed in contact with toluene, only 10.5% of cells remained viable after 1 h in the presence of 20% (v/v) toluene, while 8.6% of cells were viable after 28 h in the presence of an organic phase containing 80% (v/v) toluene in n-dodecane. Cell adaptation was studied by following the toluene consumption rate, the viability of the cell population, and the composition of the bacteria cellular membrane in the presence of increasing concentrations of toluene in the reactor. A maximum toluene concentration of 4.9 M, which corresponds to 52.4% (v/v) toluene in the organic phase, was achieved, toluene being consumed at 10.7 mg/(h mg protein). The adapted cells showed a substantially increased resistance to 50% ethanol and to concentrations of Betadine® and Micropur® tablets currently used in water purification, when compared to non-adapted cells.