Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 6440–6451 | Cite as

Microbial aerobic and anaerobic degradation of acrylamide in sludge and water under environmental conditions—case study in a sand and gravel quarry

  • A. G. GuezennecEmail author
  • C. Michel
  • S. Ozturk
  • A. Togola
  • J. Guzzo
  • N. Desroche
Degradation and transfer of polyacrylamide based floculents in sludges and industrial and natural waters


Polyacrylamides (PAMs) are used in sand and gravel quarries as water purification flocculants for recycling process water in a recycling loop system where the flocculants remove fine particles in the form of sludge. The PAM-based flocculants, however, contain residual amounts of acrylamide (AMD) that did not react during the polymerization process. This acrylamide is released into the environment when the sludge is discharged into a settling basin. Here, we explore the microbial diversity and the potential for AMD biodegradation in water and sludge samples collected in a quarry site submitted to low AMD concentrations. The microbial diversity, analyzed by culture-dependent methods and the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis approach, reveals the presence of Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Actinobacteria, among which some species are known to have an AMD biodegradation activity. Results also show that the two main parts of the water recycling loop—the washing process and the settling basin—display significantly different bacterial profiles. The exposure time with residual AMD could, thus, be one of the parameters that lead to a selection of specific bacterial species. AMD degradation experiments with 0.5 g L−1 AMD showed a high potential for biodegradation in all parts of the washing process, except the make-up water. The AMD biodegradation potential in samples collected from the washing process and settling basin was also analyzed taking into account on-site conditions: low (12 °C) and high (25 °C) temperatures reflecting the winter and summer seasons, and AMD concentrations of 50 μg L−1. Batch tests showed rapid (as little as 18 h) AMD biodegradation under aerobic and anaerobic conditions at both the winter and summer temperatures, although there was a greater lag time before activity started with the AMD biodegradation at 12 °C. This study, thus, demonstrates that bacteria present in sludge and water samples exert an in situ and rapid biodegradation of AMD at low concentration, whatever the season, and in both the aerobic and anaerobic parts of the water recycling system.


Acrylamide biodegradation Microbial diversity Proteobacteria Actinobacteria Polyacrylamide Flocculant 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Guezennec
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Michel
    • 1
  • S. Ozturk
    • 2
  • A. Togola
    • 1
  • J. Guzzo
    • 3
  • N. Desroche
    • 2
  1. 1.Département Eau Environnement EcotechnologiesBRGMOrleans Cedex 1France
  2. 2.Nexidia SASDijonFrance
  3. 3.UMR A « Procédés Alimentaires et Microbiologiques », Equipe VALMISUniversité de Bourgogne, IUVVDijonFrance

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