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Degradation of Benzophenone, a Potential Xenoestrogen, by a Yeast Isolated from the Activated Sludge of a Sewage Treatment Plant in Hokkaido

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Benzophenone (BPH) is an important intermediate in the production of medicines and cosmetics, but is also known as a xenoestrogen in its effect on mammals. We screened BPH-degrading microbes for potential bioremediation, and found degradation activity in the activated sludge of a sewage treatment plant in Hokkaido. A microbial strain with notable BPH-degrading activity (strain MU-1) was isolated from the sample. MU-1 degraded more than 95% of BPH (100–1000 ppm) as a sole carbon source within several days. However, it took a relatively long time for MU-1 to degrade a high concentration of BPH (5000–10,000 ppm), probably due to a toxic effect of BPH. The GC/MS analysis of the metabolites of BPH degradation suggested that BPH was degraded into hydrophilic compounds with very low molecular mass via conversion to phenol. The phylogenetic study based on rDNA sequences suggested that MU-1 was the black yeast Rhinocladiella aquaspersa. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing a BPH-degrading microbe.

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Correspondence to Katsuhiko Fujii.

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Fujii, K., Kikuchi, S. Degradation of Benzophenone, a Potential Xenoestrogen, by a Yeast Isolated from the Activated Sludge of a Sewage Treatment Plant in Hokkaido. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 21, 1311–1315 (2005).

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  • Activated sludge
  • benzophenone
  • biodegradation
  • Rhinocladiella
  • xenoestrogen
  • yeast