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Characterization of 1,4-dioxane degrading microbial community enriched from uncontaminated soil


1,4-Dioxane is a contaminant of emerging concern that has been commonly detected in groundwater. In this study, a stable and robust 1,4-dioxane degrading enrichment culture was obtained from uncontaminated soil. The enrichment was capable to metabolically degrade 1,4-dioxane at both high (100 mg L−1) and environmentally relevant concentrations (300 μg L−1), with a maximum specific 1,4-dioxane degradation rate (qmax) of 0.044 ± 0.001 mg dioxane h−1 mg protein−1, and 1,4-dioxane half-velocity constant (Ks) of 25 ± 1.6 mg L−1. The microbial community structure analysis suggested Pseudonocardia species, which utilize the dioxane monooxygenase for metabolic 1,4-dioxane biodegradation, were the main functional species for 1,4-dioxane degradation. The enrichment culture can adapt to both acidic (pH 5.5) and alkaline (pH 8) conditions and can recover degradation from low temperature (10°C) and anoxic (DO < 0.5 mg L−1) conditions. 1,4-Dioxane degradation of the enrichment culture was reversibly inhibited by TCE with concentrations higher than 5 mg L−1 and was completely inhibited by the presence of 1,1-DCE as low as 1 mg L−1. Collectively, these results demonstrated indigenous stable and robust 1,4-dioxane degrading enrichment culture can be obtained from uncontaminated sources and can be a potential candidate for 1,4-dioxane bioaugmentation at environmentally relevant conditions.

Key points

1,4-Dioxane degrading enrichment was obtained from uncontaminated soil.

The enrichment culture could degrade 1,4-dioxane to below 10 μg L−1.

Low Ks and low cell yield of the enrichment benefit its application in bioremediation.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the grant from the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH C35116GG). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors.

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YT conducted experiments, performed laboratory analyses, wrote, and edited the manuscript. MW performed qPCR analyses and edited the manuscript. CL provided analytical tools. CL, AV and XM edited the manuscript. YT and XM contributed to the study design, data analysis, and manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xinwei Mao.

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Tang, Y., Wang, M., Lee, CS. et al. Characterization of 1,4-dioxane degrading microbial community enriched from uncontaminated soil. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 107, 955–969 (2023).

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