Until recently, it was generally believed that the presence of more than one chlorine substituent prevented chlorinated biphenyls from serving as a sole source of carbon and energy for aerobic bacteria. In this study, we report the isolation of three aerobic strains, identified as Enterobacter sp. SA-2, Ralstonia sp. SA-4, and Pseudomonas sp. SA-6 from Nigerian polluted soils, that were able to grow on a wide range of dichlorobiphenyls (diCBs). In addition to growing on all monochlorobiphenyls (monoCBs), the strains were all able to utilize 2,2′-, 2,4′-, and 2,3-diCB as a sole source of carbon and energy. With the exception of strain SA-2, growth was also sustainable on 3,3′-, and 3,5-diCB. Washed benzoate-grown cells were typically able to degrade 68 to 100% of the diCB (100 ppm) within 188 h, concomitant with a cell number increase of up to three orders-of-magnitude and elimination of varying amounts of chloride. In many cases, stoichiometric production of a chlorobenzoate (CBA) as a product was observed. During growth on 2,2′-, and 2,4′-diCB, organisms exclusively attacked an o-chlorinated ring resulting in the production of 2-CBA and 4-CBA, respectively. A gradual decline in the concentration of the latter was observed, which suggested that the product was being degraded further. In the case of 2,3-diCB, the unsubstituted ring was preferentially metabolized. Initial diCB degradation rates were greatest for 2,4′-diCB (11.2 ± 0.91 to 30.3 ± 7.8 nmol/min per 109 cells) and lowest for 2,2′-diCB (0.37 ± 0.12 to 2.7 ± 1.2 nmol/min per 109 cells).
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The first author was supported by a fellowship grant from the ICSC-World Laboratory, Lausanne, Switzerland with additional funding provided by School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.
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Adebusoye, S.A., Picardal, F.W., Ilori, M.O. et al. Growth on dichlorobiphenyls with chlorine substitution on each ring by bacteria isolated from contaminated African soils. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 74, 484–492 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-006-0651-8
- Polychlorinated biphenyls