Enhanced degradation of phenol by Pseudomonas sp. CP4 entrapped in agar and calcium alginate beads in batch and continuous processes
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Phenol is one of the major toxic pollutants in the wastes generated by a number of industries and needs to be eliminated before their discharge. Although microbial degradation is a preferred method of waste treatment for phenol removal, the general inability of the degrading strains to tolerate higher substrate concentrations has been a bottleneck. Immobilization of the microorganism in suitable matrices has been shown to circumvent this problem to some extent. In this study, cells of Pseudomonas sp. CP4, a laboratory isolate that degrades phenol, cresols, and other aromatics, were immobilized by entrapment in Ca-alginate and agar gel beads, separately and their performance in a fluidized bed bioreactor was compared. In batch runs, with an aeration rate of 1 vol−1 vol−1 min−1, at 30°C and pH 7.0 ± 0.2, agar-encapsulated cells degraded up to 3000 mg l−1 of phenol as compared to 1500 mg l−1 by Ca-alginate-entrapped cells whereas free cells could tolerate only 1000 mg l−1. In a continuous process with Ca-alginate entrapped cells a degradation rate of 200 mg phenol l−1 h−1 was obtained while agar-entrapped cells were far superior and could withstand and degrade up to 4000 mg phenol l−1 in the feed with a maximum degradation rate of 400 mg phenol l−1 h−1. The results indicate a clear possibility of development of an efficient treatment technology for phenol containing waste waters with the agar-entrapped bacterial strain, Pseudomonas sp. CP4.
KeywordsPhenol Pseudomonas sp. CP4 Immobilization Ca-alginate Agar gel Degradation rate
The authors wish to thank the Director, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India for the facilities. The authors also acknowledge with gratitude the help provided by Abdul Basheer in the preparation of the graphs. PYAA gratefully acknowledges the award of a Senior Research Fellowship by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.
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