Skip to main content

Bacterial degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls II. Rate studies


Polychlorinated biphenyls (Aroclor 1221, 1242 and 1254) at concentrations up to 0.1% in glucose did not inhibit the growth of lake water bacteria. The bacteria used Aroclor 1221 and 1242 but not 1254 as sole carbon and energy sources for growth. Less than 1% of lake water bacteria, however, possess this ability. Seven bacterial isolates from Aroclor agar plates were identified; five belonged toAchromobacter sp. and two werePseudomonas sp. The metabolic breakdown of Aroclor 1221 was followed. The mixture was completely degraded into several low molecular weight compounds after one month incubation. Unchlorinated biphenyl was degraded at a faster rate than 2-chlorobiphenyl and 4-chlorobiphenyl isomers.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. AHMED, M. and D. D. FOCHT: Can, J. Microbiol.19, 47–52 (1973).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. CUTKOMP, L. K., H. H. YAP, D. DESAIAH and R. B. KOCH: Environ. Health Persp.1, 165–168 (1972).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. FISHBEIN, L.: J. Chromatogr.68, 345–426 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. GUSTAFSON, C. G.: Environ. Science & Technol.4, 814–819 (1970).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. HAMMOND, A. L.: Science175, 155–156 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. KAISER, K. L. E. and P. T. S. WONG: Bull. Environ. Contamin. & Toxicol.11, 291–296 (1974).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. KEIL, J. E., L. E. PRIESTER and S. H. SANDIFER: Bull. Environ. Contamin. & Toxicol.6, 156–159 (1971).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. KEIL, J. E., C. D. GRABER, L. E. PRIESTER and S. H. SANDIFER: Environ. Health Persp.1, 175–177 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. MOORE, S. A. Jr. and R. C. HARRIS: Nature (London)240, 356–358 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. NISBET, I. C. T. and A. F. SAROFIN: Environ. Health Persp.1, 21–38 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. OLOFFS, P. C., L. J. ALBRIGHT and S. Y. SZETO: Can. J. Microbiol.18, 1393–1398 (1972).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. RISEBROUGH, R. W., P. RIECHE, D. B. PEAKALL, S. G. HERSMAN and M. N. KIRVEN: Nature (London)220, 1098–1102 (1968).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. SKERMAN, V. B. D.: Guide to the identification of the genera of bacteria. 2nd ed. The Williams & Wilkins Co., Baltimore, Md. (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  14. VEIGHT, G. D.: Environmental chemistry of the chlorobiphenyls in the Milwaukee River. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1970).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wong, P.T.S., Kaiser, K.L.E. Bacterial degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls II. Rate studies. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 13, 249–256 (1975).

Download citation


  • Polychlorinated Biphenyl
  • Biphenyl
  • Lake Water
  • Nutrient Agar Plate
  • Bacterial Degradation