Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 631–639 | Cite as

Microbial Community Enhances Biodegradation of Bisphenol A Through Selection of Sphingomonadaceae

  • Seungdae OhEmail author
  • Donggeon Choi
Environmental Microbiology


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a common ingredient in plastic wares and epoxy resins that are essential for our daily life. Despite the obvious benefits, BPA may act as an environmental endocrine disruptor, causing metabolic, reproductive, and/or developmental consequences and diseases in humans and other organisms. Although previous studies have yielded progress toward the microbial breakdown of BPA, the work has primarily been focused on pure cultures rather than complex microbial communities. In this study, we examined microbial communities in bioreactors that control the fate of BPA at various levels (up to 5000 μg L−1). Microbial communities rapidly increased removal rates of 500–5000 μg L−1 BPA from 23–29 to 89–99% during the first 2 weeks of the acclimation period, after which > 90% stable removal rates were maintained over 3 months. Biochemical assays demonstrated that BPA was removed by biodegradation, rather than other abiotic removal routes (e.g., adsorption and volatilization). The 16S rRNA gene-based community analysis revealed that 50–5000 μg L−1 of BPA exposure systematically selected for three Sphingomonadaceae species (Sphingobium, Novosphingobium, and Sphingopyxis). The Sphingomonadaceae-enriched communities acclimated to BPA showed a 7.0-L gVSS−1 day−1 BPA degradation rate constant, which is comparable to that (4.1–6.3) of Sphingomonadaceae isolates and is higher than other potential BPA degraders. Taken together, our results advanced the understanding of how microbial communities acclimate to environmentally relevant levels of BPA, gradually enhancing BPA degradation via selective enrichment of a few Sphingomonadaceae populations with higher BPA metabolic activity.


Bisphenol a Microbial community acclimation Biodegradation Sphingomonadaceae 


Funding Information

This study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP; Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning) (No. NRF-2017R1C1B5076367).

Supplementary material

248_2018_1263_MOESM1_ESM.docx (95 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 94 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringKyung Hee UniversityYongin-siRepublic of Korea

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