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Tailoring the nitrogen sources of bacterial culture to enhance methyl tert-butyl ether degradation

Abstract

Four methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)-degrading bacteria were isolated from a processing plant in Malaysia. Based on 16S rDNA sequences, the four isolates were identified as Exiguobacterium profundum P1M-2, Bacillus megaterium P1M-11, Alishewanella sp. P2A-12 and Pseudomonas mendocina P2M-8. Each of the isolates obtained optimum growth using a different source of nitrogen (0.1- 0.03 % yeast or peptone) and all four isolates were able to biodegrade 92.05-99.98 % of MTBE within seven days. Amongst the four isolates, the highest percentage of MTBE degradation was achieved using B. megaterium P1M-11. The highest growth on tert-butyl alcohol (TBA), tert-amyl alcohol (TAA) and 2-hydroxyisobutyric acid (2-HIBA) was also observed in B. megaterium P1M-11. This study suggests MTBE degradation by each of the bacteria can be enhanced by choosing the right nitrogen source. Furthermore, the ability of B. megaterium P1M-11 to grow on primary metabolites of MTBE and other structurally related ethers suggests the secretion of diverse degradative enzymes, making this isolate a good candidate to be applied in MTBE bioremediation strategies.

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Acknowledgments

The work described in this paper was supported by Petronas Research Sdn. Bhd. (PRSB) project grant CR050833 and a grant under the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) UKM-ST-06-FRGS0098-2009 for financial support. We would like to thank Alena Lee Sanusi for proofreading the text.

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Correspondence to Kok Kee Wong.

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Hamzah, A., Wong, K. Tailoring the nitrogen sources of bacterial culture to enhance methyl tert-butyl ether degradation. Ann Microbiol 65, 1131–1136 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13213-014-0960-6

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Keywords

  • Degradation
  • Exiguobacterium profundum
  • Bacillus megaterium
  • Alishewanella sp.
  • Pseudomonas mendocina
  • MTBE
  • Nitrogen source