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Pentachlorophenol Biodegradation by Citrobacter freundii Isolated from Forest Contaminated Soil

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Environmental pollution by pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a critical concern worldwide, and microbial bioremediation could constitute an ecologically friendly solution. The main objectives of this study were at first to clarify the factors, affecting the ability and efficiency of PCP biodegradation by the bacterium isolate P6, and secondly to optimize the condition of using P6 for PCP bioremediation. The PCP mineralizing bacterium was isolated from the contaminated forest soil of Tunisia, and it was identified as Citrobacter freundii (C. freundii), by using conventional and molecular characteristics. The HPLC and spectroscopic analysis were used to investigate the PCP degradation and the biomass formation by this isolate P6. The main results showed that P6 was able to degrade or to transform more than 98 % of 640 mg/l PCP afterwards 168 h in mineral salt medium (MSM). As well, the optimal aerobic growth conditions of P6 in MSM include essentially the range of pH (4 ≤ pH ≤ 9) and of temperature (25 °C < temperature < 30 °C). The addition of glucose as extra carbon sources has an effect to enhance the PCP biodegradation. On the other side, this isolate of C. freundii is capable to remove or transform around 95.33 % of PCP added in the sterilized soil suspension supplemented with PCP and adjusted to a final concentration of around 400 mg/l during 2 weeks of incubation at 25 °C. This last result argues in favor of the use of this strain P6 of C. freundii as a microbial tool of remediation of PCP-contaminated site.

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  • 20 November 2017

    One of the bibliographic reference entry of this article had the author name and family name switched by mistake.


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The authors would like to thank the University of Tunis El Manar for granting a PhD studentship to Ms. Rim Werheni. This research was part funded by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (CERTE) and by the NATO, Science for Peace, Project ESP. MD. SFPP981674, with thanks to all members of the project, particularly to Professor Cristina Silva Pereira (IBET), Oeiras, Portugal, and to Professors Hassnaoui I. and Aouni L. of Sylvo-pastoral Institute of Tabarka, Tunisia, for granting permission to sample.

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Correspondence to Rim WerheniAmmeri.

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A correction to this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-017-3619-7.

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WerheniAmmeri, R., MokniTlili, S., Mehri, I. et al. Pentachlorophenol Biodegradation by Citrobacter freundii Isolated from Forest Contaminated Soil. Water Air Soil Pollut 227, 367 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-016-2959-z

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  • Citrobacter freundii
  • HPLC analysis
  • Soil suspension
  • Pentachlorophenol
  • Biodegradation