Fate of ibuprofen under optimized batch biodegradation experiments using Micrococcus yunnanensis isolated from pharmaceutical sludge

  • K. Sharma
  • G. KaushikEmail author
  • N. Thotakura
  • K. Raza
  • N. Sharma
  • S. Nimesh
Original Paper


Ibuprofen, a frequently prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is a common environmental pollutant, and its increasing concentration in the environment leads to serious impacts. This concern has demanded a holistic scientific approach for the removal of pharmaceuticals and their by-products from the environment. Microbial degradation is an eco-friendly technique known to degrade complex molecules to simpler forms. The present study focuses on isolating the most potential bacterial strain from pharmaceutical industry site and investigates the biodegradation of ibuprofen. Among six isolated strains, one isolate KGP04 was identified as Micrococcus yunnanensis (GenBank: MG 493238), which exhibited the highest potential to degrade (~ 41.57%) ibuprofen before optimization. Taguchi-based L8 orthogonal array was used to optimize process parameters which improved the degradation rate by 83.50%. Drug concentration was reduced by 90.37% at optimum conditions (carbon 0.15%, nitrogen 0.1%, pH 7, inoculum size 2% (w/v), rpm 150, 12 h, 25 °C), as revealed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Q-time of flight mass spectrometry demonstrated the ibuprofen degradation pathway followed by the strain resulting in various transformative products. Further, the effect of ibuprofen on human embryonic kidney 293 cells was also analyzed through the Alamar Blue assay, which exhibited lower toxicity on the cells treated with the degraded samples. These results indicate that the strain is a capable candidate for the degradation of pharmaceuticals and optimized conditions can be employed to remove the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and similar agents in a greener and economic manner from the pharmaceutical effluents.


Bacteria Biodegradation Cytotoxicity High-performance liquid chromatography Ibuprofen Mass spectroscopy Taguchi approach 



The present work is partially supported by the student doctoral grant of the Central University of Rajasthan supported by University grants commission, and the authors are very thankful to University Science Instrumentation Centre (USIC), the University of Rajasthan, for providing QTOF mass spectrometry for analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

13762_2019_2400_MOESM1_ESM.docx (643 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 643 kb)


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© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth sciencesCentral University of RajasthanAjmerIndia
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacy, School of Chemical Sciences and PharmacyCentral University of RajasthanAjmerIndia
  3. 3.Department of Biotechnology, School of Life SciencesCentral University of RajasthanAjmerIndia

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