Bacterial Degradation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) and Their Metabolités

  • Kensuke Furukawa
  • Nobour Tomizuka
  • Akira Kamibayashi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB)


PCBs are made by direct chlorination of biphenyl. In the process of replacing hydrogen atoms with chlorines, a large number of substitution combinations arise. Theoretically, 210 different compounds containing 0 to 10 chlorine atoms per biphenyl molecule can be prepared, but only about half that number are sterically possible. PCBs have been manufactured commercially since 1929, and they are marketed under a number of commercial trade names, e.g., Aroclor, Clophen, Phenoclor and Kaneclor. Because of their physical and chemical stability and their flame retardant characteristics they have been used extensively in transformer oils, capacitator dielectwaxes, pesticide extenders, etc. (Fishbein, 1972). It has been estimated that the total world production of PCBs since 1929 has been close to two million tons. The PCBs have been steadily released into the environment in many countries, presumably over decades, and are now found to be a pervasive, worldwide contaminant. Industrial sales of PCBs were stopped in the United States and Sweden during 1970–1971, and during 1972–1973 other European countries and Japan initiated similar action. However, PCB residues are still detected in almost all environmental samples at very low levels and a huge amount of PCBs recovered are still stored awaiting further treatment.


Bacterial Metabolism Degrading Bacterium Chlorine Substitution Chlorobenzoic Acid Total World Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kensuke Furukawa
    • 1
  • Nobour Tomizuka
    • 1
  • Akira Kamibayashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Fermentation Research InstituteAgency of Industrial Science and TechnologyTsukuba, IbaragiJapan 305

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