Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 261–267 | Cite as

Phenanthrene biodegradation by an algal-bacterial consortium in two-phase partitioning bioreactors

  • R. Muñoz
  • B. Guieysse
  • B. MattiassonEmail author
Original Paper


An algal-bacterial consortium formed by Chlorella sorokiniana and a phenanthrene-degrading Pseudomonas migulae strain was able to biodegrade 200–500 mg/l of phenanthrene dissolved in silicone oil or tetradecane under photosynthetic conditions and without any external supply of oxygen. Phenanthrene was only removed when provided in organic solvent, which confirms the potential of two-phase systems for toxicity reduction. Phenanthrene was degraded at highest rates when provided in silicone oil rather than in tetradecane since this solvent probably sequestered the PAH, reducing its mass transfer to the aqueous phase. The influence of phenanthrene concentration, amount of inoculum and light intensity on pollutant removal was also investigated and, under the best conditions, phenanthrene was degraded at 24.2 g m−3·h−1. In addition to being cost-effective and mitigating the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, photosynthetic oxygenation was especially beneficial to the use of two-phase partitioning bioreactors since it prevented solvent emulsification and/or volatilization and evidence was found that the microalgae release biosurfactants that could further enhance phenanthrene degradation.


Phenanthrene Chlorella Biosurfactants Mineral Salt Medium Biosurfactant Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Raul Muñoz and Benoit Guieysse worked within the COLDREM project (soil Remediation in a Cold Climate) and were supported by Mistra (Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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