Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 174, Issue 6, pp 2079–2085 | Cite as

Biodesulfurization of a System Containing Synthetic Fuel Using Rhodococcus erythropolis ATCC 4277

  • Danielle Maass
  • Débora de Oliveira
  • Antônio A. Ulson de Souza
  • Selene M. A. Guelli U. SouzaEmail author


The burning of fossil fuels has released a large quantity of pollutants into the atmosphere. In this context, sulfur dioxide is one of the most noxious gas which, on reacting with moist air, is transformed into sulfuric acid, causing the acid rain. In response, many countries have reformulated their legislation in order to enforce the commercialization of fuels with very low sulfur levels. The existing desulfurization processes cannot remove such low levels of sulfur and thus a biodesulfurization has been developed, where the degradation of sulfur occurs through the action of microorganisms. Rhodococcus erythropolis has been identified as one of the most promising bacteria for use in the biodesulfurization. In this study, the effectiveness of the strain R. erythropolis ATCC 4277 in the desulfurization of dibenzothiophene (DBT) was evaluated in a batch reactor using an organic phase (n-dodecane or diesel) concentrations of 20, 80, and 100 % (v/v). This strain was able to degrade 93.3, 98.0, and 95.5 % of the DBT in the presence of 20, 80, and 100 % (v/v) of dodecane, respectively. The highest value for the specific DBT degradation rate was 44 mmol DBT · kg DCW−1 · h−1, attained in the reactor containing 80 % (v/v) of n-dodecane as the organic phase.


Rhodococcus erythropolis ATCC 4277 Biodesulfurization Dibenzothiophene 



We are grateful to the following Brazilian Petroleum Agency program for financially supporting this study: Formação de Recursos Humanos da Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis-ANP, through PRH-09/MECPETRO.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Maass
    • 1
  • Débora de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Antônio A. Ulson de Souza
    • 1
  • Selene M. A. Guelli U. Souza
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chemical and Food Engineering DepartmentFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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