Article

Biotechnology Letters

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 425-430

First online:

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Degradation Coupled to Methanogenesis

  • Wook ChangAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland Email author 
  • , Youngsoon UmAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland
  • , Tracey R. Pulliam HolomanAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland

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Abstract

Baltimore Harbor (Baltimore, MD) sediments were utilized to initiate anaerobic enrichment cultures with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the absence of supplementary electron acceptors. Cultures amended with naphthalene and phenanthrene exhibited sustained, transferable degradation of the PAHs. Bromoethanesulfonic acid, a selective inhibitor of methanogenesis, inhibited the degradation of 200 μm naphthalene and phenanthrene; molecular characterization based on 16S rRNA sequences confirmed that methanogenic Archaea were eliminated, thus providing evidence that methanogenesis is involved in the degradation pathway.

Keywords

16S ribosomal RNA anaerobic biodegradation bromoethanesulfonic acid (BES) methanogenesis polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)