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Biodegradation of kraft lignin by a newly isolated bacterial strain, Aneurinibacillus aneurinilyticus from the sludge of a pulp paper mill

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A kraft lignin-degrading bacterium (ITRC S 7 ) was isolated from sludge of pulp and paper mill and characterized as Aneurinibacillus aneurinilyticus by biochemical tests and 16SrRNA gene sequencing. The bacterium did not utilize kraft lignin (KL) as the sole source of carbon and energy. However, this strain reduced the color (58%) and lignin content (43%) from kraft lignin-mineral salt medium when supplemented with glucose at pH 7.6 and 30°C after 6 days. The degradation on addition of glucose in culture medium is clear evidence of co-metabolism of KL by A. aneurinilyticus. The analysis of lignin degradation products by GC-MS in ethyl acetate extract from an A. aneurinilyticus-inoculated sample revealed the formation of low molecular weight aromatic compounds such as guaiacol, acetoguaiacone, gallic acid and ferulic acid, indicating that the bacterium can oxidize of the sinapylic (G units) and coniferylic (S units) alcohol units which are the basic moieties that build the hardwood lignin structure. The low molecular weight aromatic compounds identified in extracts of the inoculated sample favors the idea of biochemical modification of the KL to a single aromatic unit.

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Kraft lignin


Mineral salt medium


Kraft lignin amended mineral salt medium


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The authors are grateful to Dr. C.M. Gupta, Director, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, for encouragement and U.P-CST for providing financial assistance for this study. The authors are also thankful to Dr. Jai Raj Behari, Head, Analytical Chemistry Section for his suggestions in the characterization of lignin degradation products by GC-MS.

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Correspondence to Ram Chandra.

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Raj, A., Chandra, R., Reddy, M. et al. Biodegradation of kraft lignin by a newly isolated bacterial strain, Aneurinibacillus aneurinilyticus from the sludge of a pulp paper mill. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 23, 793–799 (2007).

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