The role of ammonium oxidising bacteria (AOB) in ionic liquid 1-dodecylpyridinium chloride removal

  • Feng Jun Desmond Chua
  • Yan ZhouEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Ionic liquids (IL) have emerged as the next-generation “green” solvent that can replace traditional organic solvent due to properties such as high thermal stability and no vapour pressure. However, their increased usage inevitably allows them to find their way into the environment. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of autotrophic ammonia-oxidising bacteria (AOB) in the potential removal of 1-dodecylpyridinium chloride ([DPy]+Cl) in both short- and long-term studies. In short-term batch experiments, it was observed that a notable amount of [DPy]+ can be removed by the AOB culture with the removal mechanism being biodegradation and absorption, with the latter playing a greater role. It was also found that [DPy]+ can be released back into the liquid phase when AOB’s preferred substrate, NH3, was present. In the long-term study, [DPy]+Cl was successfully biodegraded and a total of nine transformation products were identified. The biodegradation pathway was also proposed. This study demonstrated that [DPy]+Cl can be biological transformed by enriched AOB culture and the accumulation of the by-product did not show long-term negative impact on AOB activities.


Ionic liquid Ammonia-oxidising bacteria Partial nitrification Co-metabolism Biodegradation Absorption 


Funding information

This study received funding support from the Nanyang Technological University start-up grant—anticipating and mitigating challenges in enhanced biotreatment processes—enhancement and global warming.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9799_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (971 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 970 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre, Nanyang Environment and Water Research InstituteNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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