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Accelerated decolorization of structurally different azo dyes by newly isolated bacterial strains

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Wastewater effluents from the textile and other dye-stuff industries contain significant amounts of synthetic dyes that require treatment to prevent groundwater contamination. In research aimed at biotechnology for treatment of azo dyes, this study examined 288 strains of azo-dye degrading bacteria to identify efficient strains and determine incubation times required for decolorization. Initial enrichment cultures were carried out using a mixture of four structurally different dyes (Acid Red 88, Reactive Black 5, Direct Red 81, and Disperse Orange 3) as the sole source of C and N to isolate the bacteria from soil, activated sludge, and natural asphalt. Six strains were selected for further study based on their prolific growth and ability to rapidly decolorize the dyes individually or in mixtures. Treatment times required by the most efficient strain, AS96 (Shewanella putrefaciens) were as short as 4 h for complete decolorization of 100 mg l−1 of AR-88 and DR-81 dyes under static conditions, and 6 and 8 h, respectively, for complete decolorization of RB-5 and DO-3. To our knowledge, these bacterial strains are the most efficient azo-dye degrading bacteria that have been described and may have practical application for biological treatment of dye-polluted wastewater streams.

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Financial support for this study was provided by the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan. We thank Dr. Jason Cantera for assistance in 16S rRNA gene analysis.

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Correspondence to David E. Crowley.

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Khalid, A., Arshad, M. & Crowley, D.E. Accelerated decolorization of structurally different azo dyes by newly isolated bacterial strains. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 78, 361–369 (2008).

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  • Wastewater
  • Azo dye
  • Biodegradation
  • Bioaugmentation