Phenol biodegradation by the strain Pseudomonas putida affected by constant electric field

  • V. BeschkovEmail author
  • Z. Alexieva
  • Ts. Parvanova-Mancheva
  • E. Vasileva
  • M. Gerginova
  • N. Peneva
  • K. Stoyanova
Original Paper


Phenol and its derivatives are some of the most dangerous organic pollutants released into the environment. Various methods, including microbial processes, have been applied to reduce their concentrations to acceptable values in the waste streams. The present study considers the effect of constant electric field on the phenol biodegradation potential of the strain Pseudomonas putida in aqueous media. The following significant effects are observed: the constant electric field applied enhances the specific growth rate of the bacteria studied at a specified anode potential, i.e., 0.8 V versus the standard hydrogen electrode, compared to a culture without application of electricity. The amount of destroyed phenol at this anode potential is three times higher than that at the control experiment. The enzyme analyses show that the electric field stimulates the activity of phenol hydroxylase (from 0.095 to 0.281 U/mg protein) and catechol-1,2-dioxylase (from 0.688 to 1.22 U/mg protein) at the same anodic potential. The lack of catechol-2,3-dioxylase activity is an indication for the ortho-oxidative pathway for phenol biodegradation in the case under consideration. Comparison of the electric current efficiencies, measured (3.2 mA h) and stoichiometric (2.54 A h) ones shows that the stimulation effect is of biochemical origin, but not due to electrochemical processes on the anode.


Bioelectrochemistry Enzyme activity Stimulation Wastewater treatment 



This work was supported by the Fund for Scientific Research, Republic of Bulgaria, Grant DN 17/4, 2017.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors of this paper declare there were no conflict of interest during its work and preparation.


  1. Ailijiang N, Chang J, Liang P, Li P, Wu Q, Zhang X, Huang X (2016) Electrical stimulation on biodegradation of phenol and responses of microbial communities in conductive carriers supported biofilms of the bioelectrochemical reactor. Bioresour Technol 201:1–7. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexieva Z, Gerginova M, Manasiev J, Zlateva P, Shivarova N, Krastanov A (2008) Phenol and cresol mixture by the yeast Trichosporoncutaneum. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 35:1297–1301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aslanimehr M, Pahlevan A-A, Fotoohi-Qazvini F, Jahani-Hashemi H (2013) Effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on growth and viability of bacteria. Int J Res Med Health Sci 1:8–15Google Scholar
  4. Baggi G, Barbieri P, Galli E, Tollari S (1987) Isolation of a Pseudomonas stutzeri strain that degrades o-xylene. Appl Environ Microbiol 53:2129–2132Google Scholar
  5. Beretta G, Mastorgio A, Pedrali L, Saponaro S, Sezenna E (2019) The effects of electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields on microorganisms in the perspective of bioremediation. Rev Environ Sci Bio/Technol 18:29–75. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bertollo FB, Lopes GC, Silva EL (2017) Phenol Biodegradation by Pseudomonas putida in an airlift reactor: assessment of kinetic, hydrodynamic, and mass transfer parameters. Water Air Soil Pollut 228:398. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beschkov VN, Peeva LG (1994) Effect of electric current passing through the fermentation broth of a strain Acetobactersuboxydans. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg 34:185–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beschkov V, Velizarov S, Agathos SN, Lukova V (2004) Bacterial denitrification of wastewater stimulated by constant electric field. Biochem Eng J 17:141–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caetano M, Valderrama C, Farran A, Cortina JL (2009) Phenol removal from aqueous solution by adsorption and ion exchange mechanisms onto polymeric resins. J Colloid Interface Sci 338:402–409. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carmona M, De Lucas A, Valverde JL, Velasco B, Rodrıguez JF (2006) Combined adsorption and ion exchange equilibrium of phenol on Amberlite IRA-420. Chem Eng J 117:155–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chandana Lakshmi MVV, Sridevi V (2009) A review on biodegradation of phenol from industrial effluents. J Ind Pollut Control 25:13–27Google Scholar
  12. Dagley S, Gubson DT (1965) The bacterial degradation of catechol. J Biochem 95:466–474Google Scholar
  13. Dehghani S, Rezaee A, Moghiseh Z (2018) Phenol biodegradation in an aerobic fixed-film process using. conductive bioelectrodes: Biokinetic and kinetic studies. Desalin Water Treat 105:126–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dey SK, Mukherjee A (2016) Catechol oxidase and phenoxazinone synthase: Biomimetic functional models and mechanistic studies. CoordChem Rev 310:80–115. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fan X, Wang H, Luo Q, MA J, Zhang H (2007) The use of 2D non-uniform electric field to enhance in situ bioremediation of 2,4-dichlorophenol-contaminated soil. J Hazard Mater 148:29–37. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Field SJ, Thornton NP, Anderson LJ, Gates AJ, Reilly A, Jepson BJN, Richardson DJ, George SJ, Cheesman MR, Butt JN (2005) Reductive activation of nitrate reductases. Dalton Trans 21:3580–3586. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerginova M, Manasiev J, Yemendzhiev H, Terziyska A, Peneva N, Alexieva Z (2013) Biodegradation of phenol by Antarctic strains of Aspergillus fumigatus. Z Naturforschung C 9(10):384–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gill R, Harbottle M, Smith J, Thornton S (2014) Electrokinetic-enhanced bioremediation of organic contaminants: a review of processes and environmental applications. Chemosphere 107:31–42. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gonzalez G, Herrera G, Garcia M, Peña M (2001) Biodegradation of phenolic industrial wastewater in a fluidized bed bioreactor with immobilized cells of Pseudomonas putida. Biores Technol 80:137–142. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Guo S, Fan R, Li T, Hartog N, Li F, Yang X (2014) Synergistic effects of bioremediation and electrokinetics in the remediation of petroleum-contaminated soil. Chemosphere 109:226–233. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gupta S, Ashrith G, Chandra D, Gupta AK, Finkel KW, Guntupalli JS (2008) Acute phenol poisoning: a life-threatening hazard of chronic pain relief. ClinToxicol (Phila) 46:250–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hasan S, Jabeen S (2015) Degradation kinetics and pathway of phenol by Pseudomonas and Bacillus species. BiotechnolBiotechnol Equip 29:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hinteregger C, Leitner R, Loidl M, Ferschl A, Streichsbier F (1992) Degradation of phenol and phenolic compounds by Pseudomonas putida EKII. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 37:252–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hristov A (1997) Change in the processes of microbial respirationin Black Sea ecosystem in the presence of phenol. CR Acad Bulg Sci 50:101–104Google Scholar
  25. Jobin L, Namour P (2017) Bioremediation in water environment. Controlled electro-stimulation of organic matter self-purification in aquatic environment. Sci Res 7:813–852Google Scholar
  26. Kumar A, Kumar S, Kumar S (2005) Biodegradation kinetics of phenol and catechol using Pseudomonas putida MTCC 1194. Biochem Eng J 22:151–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kumar S, Mishra VK, Kumar U, Kumar A, Varghese S (2013) Biodegradation of phenol by bacterial strains and their catalytic ability. Int J Agric Env Biotech 6:108–115Google Scholar
  28. Kwon KH, Yeom SH (2009) Optimal microbial adaptation routes for the rapid degradation of high concentration of phenol. Bioproc Biosyst Eng 32:435–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leonard D, Lindley ND (1998) Carbon and energy flux constraints in continuous cultures of Alcaligenes eutrophus grown on phenol. Microbiol 144:241–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Li Q, Kang C, Zhang C (2005) Wastewater produced from an oilfield and continuous treatment with an oil-degrading bacterium. Process Biochem 40:873–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lillis L, Clipson N, Doyle E (2010) Quantification of catechol dioxygenase gene expression in soil during degradation of 2,4-dichlorophenol. FEMS MicrobiolEcol 73:363–369Google Scholar
  32. Liu H, Tong S, Chen N, Liu Y, Feng C, Hu Q (2015) Effect of electro-stimulation on activity of heterotrophic denitrifying bacteria and denitrification performance. Bioresour Technol 196:123–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mahiudddin M, Fakhruddin ANM, Al-Mahin A (2012) Degradation of phenol via meta cleavage pathway by Pseudomonas fluorescens PU1. ISRN Microbiol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moghiseh Z, Rezaee A, Dehghani S, Esrafili A (2019) Microbial electrochemical system for the phenol degradation using alternating current: metabolic pathway study. Bioelectrochem. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Nakazawa T, Nakazawa A (1970) Pyrocatechase (Pseudomonas). Methods Enzymol 17:518–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Olajire AA, Essien JP (2014) Aerobic degradation of petroleum components by microbial consortia. J Pet Environ Biotechnol 5:195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oprea F, Sandulescu M (2006) Phenol removal from wastewater and sour water using ion exchange adsorption. Environ Eng Manag J 5:1051–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pavitt AS, Bylaska EJ, Tratnyek PG (2017) Oxidation potentials of phenols and anilines: correlation analysis of electrochemical and theoretical values. Electron Suppl Mater Environ Sci Processes Impacts 3:12Google Scholar
  39. Powlowski J, Shingler V (1994) Genetics and biochemistry of phenol degradation by Pseudomonas sp. CF 600. Biodegradation 5:219–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seker S, Beyenal H, Salih B, Tomas A (1997) Multi-substrate growth kinetics of Pseudomonas putida for phenol removal. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 47:610–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Soto ML, Moure A, Domínguez H, Parajó JC (2011) Recovery, concentration and purification of phenolic compounds by adsorption: a review. J Food Eng 105:1–27. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sridevi V, Chandana Lakshmi MVV, Manasa M, Sravani M (2012) Metabolic pathways for the biodegradation of phenol. Int J Eng Sci Adv Technol 2:695–705Google Scholar
  43. Víctor-Ortega MD, Ochando-Pulido JM, Martínez Férez A (2016) Equilibrium studies on phenol removal from industrial wastewater through polymeric resins. Chem Eng Trans 47:253–258Google Scholar
  44. Vijayagopal V, Viruthagiri T (2005) Batch kinetic studies in phenol biodegradation and comparison. Ind J Biotechnol 4:565–567Google Scholar
  45. Wang CL, You SL, Wang SL (2006) Purification and characterization of a novel catechol 1,2-dioxygenase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa with benzoic acid as a carbon source. Process Biochem 41:1594–1601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhou Lean, Yan Xuejun, Yan Yuqing, Li Tian, An Jingkun, Liao Chengmei, Li Nan, Wang Xi (2019) Electrode potential regulates phenol degradation pathways in oxygen-diffused microbial electrochemical system. Chem Eng J 381:122663. press) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Chemical EngineeringBulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.Department of General Microbiology, Institute of MicrobiologyBulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria

Personalised recommendations