Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 9, pp 3829–3837 | Cite as

Comparative investigation on a hexane-degrading strain with different cell surface hydrophobicities mediated by starch and chitosan

  • Dong-Zhi ChenEmail author
  • Ning-Xin Jiang
  • Jie-Xu Ye
  • Zhuo-Wei Cheng
  • Shi-Han Zhang
  • Jian-Meng ChenEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Bioremediation usually exhibits low removal efficiency toward hexane because of poor water solubility, which limits the mass transfer rate between the substrate and microorganism. This work aimed to enhance the hexane degradation rate by increasing cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) of the degrader, Pseudomonas mendocina NX-1. The CSH of P. mendocina NX-1 was manipulated by treatment with starch and chitosan solution of varied concentrations, reaching a maximum hydrophobicity of 52%. The biodegradation of hexane conformed to the Haldane inhibition model, and the maximum degradation rate (ν max) of the cells with 52% CSH was 0.72 mg (mg cell)−1·h−1 in comparison with 0.47 mg (mg cell)−1·h−1 for cells with 15% CSH. The production of CO2 by high CSH cells was threefold higher than that by cells at 15% CSH within 30 h, and the cumulative rates of O2 consumption were 0.16 and 0.05 mL/h, respectively. High CSH was related to low negative charge carried by the cell surface and probably reduced the repulsive electrostatic interactions between hexane and microorganisms. The FT-IR spectra of cell envelopes demonstrated that the methyl chain was inversely proportional to increasing CSH values, but proteins exhibited a positive effect to CSH enhancement. The ratio of extracellular proteins and polysaccharides increased from 0.87 to 3.78 when the cells were treated with starch and chitosan, indicating their possible roles in increased CSH.


Biodegradation Cell surface hydrophobicity Hexane Kinetic 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51178430, 21477116, and 21276239) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (Grant No. IRT13096).

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.


  1. Al-Tahhan RA, Sandrin TR, Bodour AA, Maier RM (2000) Rhamnolipid-induced removal of lipopolysaccharide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa: effect on cell surface properties and interaction with hydrophobic substrates. Appl Environ Microbiol 66:3262–3268CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Arriaga S, Revah S (2004) Improving hexane removal by enhancing fungal development in a microbial consortium biofilter. Biotechnol Bioeng 90:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartacek J, Kennes C, Lens PNL (1993) Biotechniques for air pollution control. Biodegradation 4:283–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boonaert CJP, Rouxhet PG (2000) Surface of lactic acid bacteria: relationships between chemical composition and physicochemical properties. Appl Environ Microbiol 66:2548–2554CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Bos R, van der Mei HC, Busscher HJ (1999) Physico-chemistry of initial microbial adhesive interactions–its mechanisms and methods for study. FEMS Microbiol Rev 23:179–230CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Boudreau NG, Daugulis AJ (2006) Transient performance of two-phase partitioning bioreactors treating a toluene contaminated gas stream. Biotechnol Bioeng 94:448–457CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Deepika G, Green RJ, Frazier RA, Charalampopoulos D (2009) Effect of growth time on the surface and adhesion properties of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. J Appl Microbiol 107:1230–1240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Deshusses MA, Hamer G, Dunn IJ (1995) Behavior of biofilters for waste air biotreatment. 1. Dynamic model development. Environ Sci Technol 29:1048–1058CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dignac MF, Urbain V, Rybacki D, Bruchet A, Snidaro D, Scribe P (1998) Chemical description of extracellular polymers: implication on activated sludge floc structure. Water Sci Technol 38:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dubois M (1956) Calorimetric method for determination of sugars and related substances. Anal Chem 28:350–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frolund B, Griebe T, Nielsen PH (1995) Enzymatic-activity in the activated-sludge floc matrix. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 43:755–761CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Jorand F, Boue-Bigne F, Block JC, Urbain V (1998) Hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of activated sludge exopolymeric substances. Water Sci Technol 37:307–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Komarov EV, Ganin PG (2004) ζ-potential of n-alkane emulsion droplets and its role in substrate transport into yeast cells. Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol 40:272–279Google Scholar
  14. Lee W, Kang S, Shin H (2003) Sludge characteristics and their contribution to microfiltration in submerged membrane bioreactors. J Membr Sci 216:217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liao BQ, Allen DG, Droppo IG, Leppard GG, Liss SN (2001) Surface properties of sludge and their role in bioflocculation and settleability. Water Res 35:339–350CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Montes M, Rene ER, Veiga MC, Kennes C (2013) Steady- and transient-state performance of a thermophilic suspended-growth bioreactor for α-pinene removal from polluted air. Chemosphere 93:2914–2921CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Morgan JW, Forster CF, Evison L (1990) A comparative study of the nature of biopolymers extracted from anaerobic and activated sludges. Water Res 24:743–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mozes N, Marchal F, Hermesse MP, Van Haecht JL, Reuliaux L, Leonard AJ, Rouxhet PG (1987) Immobilization of microorganisms by adhesion: interplay of electrostatic and nonelectrostatic interactions. Biotechnol Bioeng 30:439–450CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Nikaido H (2003) Molecular basis of bacterial outer membrane permeability revisited. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 67:593–656CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Pieper DH, Reineke W (2000) Engineering bacteria for bioremediation. Curr Opin Biotechnol 11:262–270CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Rosenberg M (1991) Mixing water, oil, and microorganisms-a citation-classic commentary on adherence of bacteria to hydrocarbons-a simple method for measuring cell-surface hydrophobicity by Rosenberg, M, Gutnick, D and Rosenberg, E. Cc/Agr Biol Environ:8–8Google Scholar
  22. Samanta SK, Singh OV, Jain RK (2002) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: environmental pollution and bioremediation. Trends Biotechnol 20:243–248CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Timmis KN, Pieper DH (1999) Bacteria designed for bioremediation. Trends Biotechnol 17:201–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tribedi P, Sil AK (2014) Cell surface hydrophobicity: a key component in the degradation of polyethylene succinate by Pseudomonas sp. AKS2. J Appl Microbiol 116:295–303CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Van Hamme JD, Singh A, Ward OP (2003) Recent advances in petroleum microbiology. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 67:503-+CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang ZP, Liu LL, Yao H, Cai WM (2006) Effects of extracellular polymeric substances on aerobic granulation in sequencing batch reactors. Chemosphere 63:1728–1735CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Wilson WW, Wade MM, Holman SC, Champlin FR (2001) Status of methods for assessing bacterial cell surface charge properties based on zeta potential measurements. J Microbiol Methods 43:153–164. doi: 10.1016/S0167-7012(00)00224-4 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Wongkongkatep P, Manopwisedjaroen K, Tiposoth P, Archakunakorn S, Pongtharangkul T, Suphantharika M, Honda K, Hamachi I, Wongkongkatep J (2012) Bacteria interface pickering emulsions stabilized by self-assembled bacteria-chitosan network. Langmuir 28:5729–5736CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Zhang LL, Feng XX, Zhu NW, Chen JM (2007) Role of extracellular protein in the formation and stability of aerobic granules. Enzym Microb Technol 41:551–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhang JS, Sun ZT, Li YY, Peng X, Li W, Yan YC (2009) Biodegradation of p-nitrophenol by Rhodococcus sp. CN6 with high cell surface hydrophobicity. J Hazard Mater 163:723–728CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Zikmanis P, Shakirova L, Auzina L, Andersone I (2007) Hydrophobicity of bacteria Zymomonas mobilis under varied environmental conditions. Process Biochem 42:745–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EnvironmentZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations