Strategies for Biodegradation of Fluorinated Compounds

  • Irina S. MoreiraEmail author
  • Catarina L. Amorim
  • Cormac D. Murphy
  • Paula M. L. Castro
Part of the Nanotechnology in the Life Sciences book series (NALIS)


Environmental contamination by fluorinated organic compounds is an issue of major concern due to their widespread use and recalcitrance to degradation. The susceptibility of fluorinated pollutants to biodegradation, a major route for the removal of such pollutants from different environmental compartments, is affected by the molecule structure, namely, the number and position of fluorine atoms. In this chapter, the biodegradation of several fluorinated substrates is presented, highlighting the occurrence of mineralization versus biotransformation to dead-end metabolites, whose toxicity cannot be disregarded. Enrichment strategies to obtain degrading strains are addressed, as well as approaches to improve degradation efficiency. Frequently, in contaminated environments, autochthonous strains are not able to break the high-strength carbon-fluorine bond(s). Bioaugmentation, through the addition of specialized pollutant-degrading strains/genes to environmental matrices, is presented as a promising strategy to improve pollutant removal efficiency. Successful bioaugmentation processes applied to different reactor configurations are presented, and constraints to its implementation are also discussed.


Fluorinated compounds Enrichment Biodegradation Bioaugmentation Bioreactors 



I.S. Moreira and C.L. Amorim acknowledge research grants from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal (SFRH/BPD/87251/2012 and SFRH/BPD/96481/2013) and Fundo Social Europeu (Programa Operacional Potencial Humano (POPH), Quadro de Referência Estratégico Nacional (QREN)). This work was supported by National Funds from FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – through project AGeNT - PTDC/BTA-BTA/31264/2017, (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031264). We would also like to thank the scientific collaboration of CBQF under the FCT project UID/Multi/50016/2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina S. Moreira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Catarina L. Amorim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cormac D. Murphy
    • 3
  • Paula M. L. Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF-Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina, Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de BiotecnologiaPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Biology Department and CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, University College DublinBelfield, Dublin 4Ireland

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