, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 171–185 | Cite as

Biochemical pathways and enhanced degradation of di-n-octyl phthalate (DOP) in sequencing batch reactor (SBR) by Arthrobacter sp. SLG-4 and Rhodococcus sp. SLG-6 isolated from activated sludge

  • Ke Zhang
  • Yihao Liu
  • Qiang Chen
  • Hongbing Luo
  • Zhanyuan Zhu
  • Wei Chen
  • Jia Chen
  • You Mo
Original Paper


Two bacterial strains designated as Arthrobacter sp. SLG-4 and Rhodococcus sp. SLG-6, capable of utilizing di-n-octyl phthalate (DOP) as sole source of carbon and energy, were isolated from activated sludge. The analysis of DOP degradation intermediates indicated Arthrobacter sp. SLG-4 could completely degrade DOP. Whereas DOP could not be mineralized by Rhodococcus sp. SLG-6 and the final metabolic product was phthalic acid (PA). The proposed DOP degradation pathway by Arthrobacter sp. SLG-4 was that strain SLG-4 initially transformed DOP to PA via de-esterification pathway, and then PA was metabolized to protocatechuate acid and eventually converted to tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle through meta-cleavage pathway. Accordingly, Phthalate 3,4-dioxygenase genes (phtA) responsible for PA degradation were successfully detected in Arthrobacter sp. SLG-4 by real-time quantitative PCR (q-PCR). q-PCR analysis demonstrated that the quantity of phthalate 3,4-dioxygenase was positively correlated to DOP degradation in SBRs. Bioaugmentation by inoculating DOP-degrading bacteria effectively shortened the start-up of SBRs and significantly enhanced DOP degradation in bioreactors. More than 91% of DOP (500 mg L−1) was removed in SBR bioaugmented with bacterial consortium, which was double of the control SBR. This study suggests bioaugmentation is an effective and feasible technique for DOP bioremediation in practical engineering.

Graphical abstract


Di-n-octyl phthalate (DOP) Biodegradation pathway Phthalate 3 4-Dioxygenase gene Bioaugmentation SBR 



This work was financially supported by Scientific research innovation team project of Sichuan provincial education department (No. 16TD0006), and the Development Project of Science and Technology benefitting the Public in the Science & Technology Bureau of Chengdu City (No. 2015-HM01-00325-SF). The authors would like to thank the team of Prof. Xiangkun Li of Harbin Institute of Technology for their assistance with the construction and operation of bioreactors.

Supplementary material

10532_2018_9822_MOESM1_ESM.docx (147 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 146 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ke Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yihao Liu
    • 3
  • Qiang Chen
    • 3
  • Hongbing Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhanyuan Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jia Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • You Mo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Civil EngineeringSichuan Agricultural UniversityDujiangyanChina
  2. 2.Sichuan Higher Education Engineering Research Center for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Village ConstructionDujiangyanChina
  3. 3.College of Resource Science & TechnologySichuan Agricultural UniversityChengduChina

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